PHOTO GALLERY: Innovative Grapes Hill Community Garden in Norwich wins third award of the year

Volunteers behind a community garden project are celebrating a prestigious award – their third so far this year.

Grapes Hill Community Garden on Valentine Street – which was transformed from derelict land just over a year ago – received a Green Flag Award last Tueday, recognising it as a high standard green space.

The award is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom and is the icing on the cake for the project group's leaders, who marked its first birthday on July 8.

Group secretary Fran Ellington said: 'We are all delighted that the hard work done by so many of our volunteers has resulted in this prestigious award which gives us national recognition. It is hard to believe that only two years ago this site was an abandoned area of Tarmac, concrete and weeds.'

In March this year the garden was a commended entry in the Eco Community Group category of the Norwich Eco Awards and chairman Jeremy Bartlett received the Eco Hero award for work there and at The Belvedere Centre on Belvoir Street.

The Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership has also just announced that the garden has won one of the awards in the group category of this year's Community Biodiversity Awards, to be officially presented at a ceremony on July 24.

Mr Bartlett said: 'It is an honour to be recognised, but this award is really more a pat on the back for all the volunteers who gave up their time. I hope it will draw more attention to the garden, so those who did not know about it will start to use it.

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'Its upkeep is purely down to members of the community. It is a nice, tidy space for people to use, with lots of interesting wildlife.

'And I hope it will encourage others to do what we have done. Because we did this people from all walks of life grow their own veg for the first time and come together in the community – it is nice when you notice that.'

Go to grapeshillcommunitygarden.org for more information.

Are you involved in a community project? Call the Evening News on 07501 481521 or email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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