It’s good to have friends

February 3, 2020 by Friends of Leigh Library Gardens

The Friends of Leigh Library Gardens (FOLLG) had a tremendous response to the public consultation exercise run at the Leigh Community Centre in December Last year. The feedback forms have been collated and the ideas and suggestions put forward are being carefully considered.

Almost 100 people visited the consultation which ran during the Leigh on Sea Town Council Winter Fayre, and more than half completed feedback forms. Volunteers from FOLLG were on hand to talk about the plans that have been drawn up already and to hear Leigh residents and visitors to the Fayre’s views on how the Gardens should be used and improved.

The feedback from the consultation was supportive of the current plans for Leigh Library Gardens. Many commented on the need to improve the paths within the Gardens and to open up and improve the vista from the south of the library to the sea. People also wanted to see a greater variety of seasonal planting to bring colour, and themed planting to bring interest to the Gardens. More activities for all ages were called for in the Gardens. These are all improvements that FOLLG have incorporated into their plans so far.

As a result of the consultation the Friends met a wildlife expert who offered to help monitor the wildlife in the Gardens and connections were made with three local charities and organisations with whom useful partnerships can be developed.

The Friends are now busy in the Gardens on a regular basis working with Southend Parks Department. Jobs undertaken by the Friends include litter picking, replanting, clearing overgrown beds and identifying the flora and fauna in the Gardens. Volunteer sessions take place on the first and third Wednesday of the month and the second and fourth Saturday of the month from 10am until 11.30am. Everyone is welcome and there is no need to stay for the whole session. Tools are provided but suitable clothing and footwear is essential.

Russell Hallmark, Chair of the Friends said ‘We would like to thanks everyone who came along to find out about the work of our group and to offer their views on how best to improve and care for the Library Gardens. It is a genuinely loved and valued space and there is a lot of goodwill towards our plans. We met some new volunteers and made some great connections around the town. 2020 is going to be a busy year for the Friends and we are all excited about how the Gardens will develop over the next 12 months. We are also very grateful for the support Leigh Town Council has given the Friends as we become established.’ In a short period of time, the Friends of Leigh Library Gardens have achieved a great deal and are looking forward to seeing the Gardens benefit from more work as the year goes on. More volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks in and outside the Gardens so to find out more either email or drop into one of the working party sessions and talk to a volunteer.

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