A nature garden in the centre of Devonport has been restored, thanks to funding from SITA Trust. Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) recently restored the Zion Garden, which sits at the base of Devonport Column, through their youth volunteer programme.
SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. Funding is available for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.
The Zion Garden was once overgrown and unsafe. It was full of razor wire and was subsequently closed for the public. Through SITA Trust funding, it has been transformed to create an environment which will attract insects and small animals for the local community to enjoy.
The funding has enabled a platform to be installed, allowing visitors to enjoy the area. Metal railings have also been installed for safety. The funding provided plants to grow in the garden and tools which have been used to cut back and improve the area to attract and encourage nature to thrive.
Marianne Ivin, Programmes Coordinator at SITA Trust said, “It was fantastic to see this project to make real improvements to a community facility led by young people. The results are quite stunning and I’m sure that the whole community will enjoy this area for years to come”.
The project, led by RIO, has seen ten youth volunteers help develop, cut back, clear and plant in the garden under the guidance and support of Tess Wilmot, from Dig for Devonport. In this time Tess has taught them about horticulture, and they learned to identify various plants and creatures themselves.
Kate Rowlands, Locality Coordinator and Volunteer Manager at RIO said, “The project not only sees a community nature reserve area be restored for the community to enjoy; it has provided the youth volunteers with valuable and practical work experience where they have learned about horticulture and developed team-working skills at the same time. The work here links in with the regeneration of Devonport Column and we hope that the community will come and enjoy this area at their leisure”.
The name Zion Garden originates from the Zion Chapel that once stood adjacent to Devonport Column. After a successful launch event on Saturday 23rd August, the Zion Garden is now open to the public on Mondays – Saturdays from 10am – 4pm. Access to the garden is free of charge, and visitors can climb Devonport Column for a small fee. Tickets to climb Devonport Column are available from neighbouring Devonport Guildhall.