A Black Country community park that has suffered from years of neglect, vandalism and anti-social behaviour has been given a new lease of life.
Over four tough days, a team of Cadent volunteers from the Dudley, Brierley Hill, Stourbridge, Pensnett and Kingswinford areas helped transform the wilderness of Hawbush Gardens, near Brierley Hill, in the West Midlands.
The engineers worked hard to clear two badly overgrown paddocks, an inaccessible woodland entrance and a long lost picnic area.
The site now has allotments, an orchard, a multi-functional building, pond and woodland.
Phil Lloyd, Cadent network engineer, said: “This was a tough challenge, but one that we relished. It was hard work, with a big ‘to do’ list over four days. But, once again, we were driven on by knowing how important it was to so many people.”
Hawbush is one of the UK’s most deprived communities.
Ken Smith, site coordinator and Hawbush Gardens trustee, added: “Many residents, particularly young people, have little hope for the future, but we’re looking to break that cycle of despair – and this garden project has great potential to positively change people’s lives.
“We’re amazed at what’s been done by the Cadent team. Over four days they cleared two paddocks, the woodland entrance, the picnic area and have greatly encouraged me and the rest of the Hawbush Gardens team.
“It’s truly hard to express adequately our gratitude. They have helped shape the future of Hawbush, giving old and young alike a chance for better lives. We can now make plans for youngsters and families. The after-school gardening club is up and running, we now have a weekly workday with Dudley Youth Offending Service, Atlantic Recovery Centre (Lye) use the site to help in their rehabilitation programme from drug and alcohol dependency and plans are being developed to help special needs children from a school in Pensnett. We are also able to donate fresh fruit and veg to the Black Country Foodbank.”
The make-over project, linking Cadent and the Hawbush Gardens, was organised by Business in the Community – The Prince’s Responsible Business Network.
Its members work together to tackle a wide range of issues to help build a fairer society and a more sustainable future.