The first public meeting of the Friends of Llanfrechfa Grange Walled Garden was held on Thursday 8 December in the Main Hall at Llanfrechfa Grange. The meeting provided an opportunity to share some of our key achievements over the last year and to start recruiting members to support the charitable aims of the project. Further details of the project is available in our first year report, launched at the meeting, which includes a statement of our financial position.
A key achievement was of course, winning a Tesco Community Award to install a large greenhouse and shed for horticultural therapy. We were pleased to also be able to announce the beginning of our new partnership project with ‘Growing Space‘, which will mean that from early next year, horticultural therapy will be provided to a small group of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, helping them develop new skills and potentially pathways into work. In the future, we hope to be able to extend this to other groups.
Members of Mencap Cymru were also at the meeting to promote their ‘Hidden Now Heard’ project which is currently focusing on the experiences of people with Learning Disability and those who used to live or work at Llanfrechfa Grange.
We were delighted to be able to raise £200 at the meeting which came from the recruitment of over 20 new members and a raffle, which had a fabulous Walled Garden cake, made by Wendy Warren, as its first prize. Thank you to every one who took part.
A little earlier in the day, the Chairman, David Jenkins, and Chief Executive, Judith Paget, of Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, hosted a special thank you celebration for our current volunteers and supporters. As we were blessed with a fine sunny day, everyone was able to gather together in the Walled Garden with a cup of hot mulled apple juice to hear Judith express her thanks and appreciation for all the hard work put in by volunteers from all walks of life. Judith said she was delighted and amazed to see how much progress had been made and to see the garden come back into use, in a way which, with the coming of the new hospital, created a link between past and future. Judith and the Chairman then joined the volunteers for tea and cake in the Main Hall, where they chatted further with individuals.
Our ability to redevelop and maintain the garden for the future is dependent on our supporters and funds to buy materials and equipment. For more information on how you can get involved or provide funding support, please visit our Supporting Us page.
We are delighted to announce that we are to be awarded £12,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help fund.
Tesco estimated that 8 million shoppers voted in stores across the country to help the company allocate grants from their £11.5million carrier bag charge fund, with three shortlisted project in each area due to receive either £8,000, £10,000 or £12,000. Voting ran in stores from 27 February until 6 March – with customers using a token system to choose which project they would like to get the top award.
Thanks to the support we received in the Tesco stores in Abertillery, Cwmbran, Ebbw Vale and Pontypool we came first in the vote and will receive the maximum award of £12,000. This is absolutely fantastic news and we send our thanks to everyone who promoted our project and voted for us in Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen. Some supporters we know returned to their store many times during the voting week, occasionally claiming forgetfulness for the need to go back!
This is our first grant for the Walled Garden and we plan to use the £12,000 to provide a lovely horticultural therapy greenhouse for use by community and patient groups. Now that the results have been announced the garden design team will work up detailed design plans for the greenhouse area and chose and build a suitable structure. This picture is of one of several styles we are considering.
Huge thanks again to everyone who voted for us, and to Aneurin Bevan University Health Board for their continued support for the restoration of the Walled Garden at Llanfrechfa Grange.