Tuesday, 26 October 2010


A garden in Ramsgate has been commended as “outstanding” in regional awards, following the hard work of the local community, with help from the council.

Although the garden in Spencer Square is owned by the council, over the last few years, they have been working with residents, so they adopted ownership of the site and transformed its appearance. Now the Spencer Square Residents’ Association Gardening Group has been handed the accolade from South and South East in Bloom. They received a stunning total of 95 points out of 100 for the work they have done.

The judges commented that: “In the four years that this group has been in existence, they have totally altered the appearance of the gardens in front of their houses. They have also created a strong sense of community by urging neighbours to work together and the shared sense of achievement is very evident. We have had the pleasure of judging this group for three years now and every year we see significant improvements, as well as the implementation of the recommendations we made after our previous visit. A perfect illustration of all the benefits of a community working together.”

The judges were particularly impressed with a number of aspects, including:
The “help yourself” herb garden
The new beach hut garden with provision for a wide range of insect accommodation
The new shingle “stream” linking the various beds
The new wildflower meadow and the involvement of local schoolchildren in creating it
The very strong support from officers from the District Council

As Lyn Baines from the Spencer Square Residents’ Association explains, the group came together, following vandalism to the gardens. “We were astonished and disgusted that people were damaging the area that we lived in and wanted to do something to combat the problem. We were faced with what looked like a wasteland inhabited by drug addicts and drunks, with all the resulting rubbish they caused. That’s why we created the gardening group and, since then, it’s gone from strength to strength.”

The group have had support from the council’s grounds maintenance team, who have carried out major work, such as removing shrubs and roots and laying wood chipping. They have also installed compost bins. Funding for the gardens has come from the council and grants from Kent County Council, applications for which have been supported by Cllrs. Elizabeth Green and John Kirby.

Cllr. Martin Wise, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Our congratulations to the hard working residents of Spencer Square, who have made such a huge difference to the appearance of the area. It’s wonderful to see their work recognised in this way and this is an exceptional achievement for a Thanet garden. This is definitely one of the better gardens that the council has and that’s thanks to the community spirit and commitment of those who live in the square and have worked so hard to improve it. We are delighted to help them wherever we can, but it’s so encouraging to see the residents taking such a lead in this project.”

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