The Mersey Forest has helped to transform an area of derelict land into an outdoor community space and garden in Garston, Liverpool. Working in partnership with Employability Solutions, The Mersey Forest helped to create SLUG - South Liverpool Urban Garden.
This project has helped to create a community growing area containing raised beds to grow food, as well as highly perfumed herbs and edible plants. An urban oasis was created right in the heart of an industrial village with a long history of shipping, and now provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the heavy moving vehicles.
As well as food growing, the garden incorporates a performance space for use by the community to host events giving local people access to the arts and includes a story circle to encourage reading and sharing stories.
Employability Solutions are now looking after the space, providing young people with access to training and personal development opportunities. This forms part of the CANTeen project that enables young people to learn skills to set up their own social enterprise whilst promoting healthy eating and financial literacy such as how to cook healthy food on a budget. The project has run for just over a year and was been funded by The Liverpool One Foundation.
Finding a community partner is essential to keep a project like SLUG alive. The involvement of Employability Solutions and CANTeen has been integral to local community empowerment.
This formerly derelict plot of land has become a real anchor and place where people now convene. It is a testament not only to the power of Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) but also to the fact that the asset itself need not be prohibitively expensive.
Community support and engagement in SLUG.