St. Michael in the City – a Forest Church

We’re delighted to announce that the first project under our latest Nature4Health programme supported by the National Lottery Community Fund has been a wonderful success at helping to bring a community together.

With funding for Nature4Health kicking off in June, we are pleased to be working in partnership with our long-standing friends at Liverpool based charity, Faiths4Change, to support the development of a new community asset within the grounds of St. Michael in the City Church.

The support through Nature4Health has helped to reduce social isolation through the friendships that have established during the creation of a new community garden . It is part of a wider and much needed programme of activity that the church leaders and community have developed together in order to develop a renewed sense of pride in a rapidly changing neighbourhood. The church is located in the Baltic Triange, Liverpool – an area that is probably one of the most exciting and fast growing areas of the city, but has a small and diverse local population which has benefited from the activities linking people together. Curate at St. Michael’s and William Temple Foundation Scholar, Gill Reeve, has written a lovely blog post about the project at the church has come together.

Rosie who runs the group is delighted with how it has gone:

So far we have over 20 people signed up for the Nature4health course. Each week, we are averaging around 10 participants and lots of other people have been dropping into find out more about the garden and how to get involved. We have lots of regulars, a few people have been every single week and have also progressed on to join some of our other activities too which is fantastic.

The garden is providing a much needed green oasis within the city and the benefits of connecting with nature are well understood for our physical and mental wellbeing, particularly helping to reduce social isolation as Rosie explains:

The garden is welcome to people from all different backgrounds, including a those referred by the local charities such as The Brain Charity,  Crisis and Asylum Link For most people, it is the first time they have done any gardening and there has been lots of positive feedback from participants saying they are finding it a great way to relax, make friends and are learning a lot. There is a real sense of community growing within the group.

The group are not stopping there, and plans are in place to grow the community by connecting with the local school, St. Vicent’s, the adjoinging college, and for a new boundary fence to replace the old railings during the winter. Wider afield, the work at St. Michael is supporting delivery of EU funded programme Urban GreenUP which is helping to support Liverpool in a changing climate through the power of nature.

One of the best things about supporting the work at St. Michael in the City is how the spirit of Liverpool is alive and kicking – and despite divisions at a national level, the generosity and willingness to work in true partnership with other organisations, proves that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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