We want to make Chester green #MakeChesterGreen not just a bit green #10xgreener.
The project is spearheaded by Helen Tandy volunteer Coordinator for Friends of the Earth Chester & District.
I first heard about the trial project and its inclusion in a BBC2 documentary so I tuned in. I knew straight away that I wanted to bring the project to Chester. I had a vision of central Chester, where we have more terraced houses, flats and little green space.
The Chester community put us on the map by nominating our region and two weeks later I got the call from (Friends of the Earth) head office
The final link was when Alex from a Newtown Residents group came to our meeting to confirm that it was exactly what they were looking for.
We are starting with a few awareness raising events, linking Christ Church Chester, Chester Little Theatre and Newtown Residents. We also have support from Cheshire West and Chester Theatre and Sanctuary Housing.
Alex Baylis, Chair of Newtown Community Group said, "Since moving to Newtown a few years ago I began to realise how underrated it is as an inner-city area.
The area has terraced streets, a theatre, a beautiful church but very few green areas and as a consequence a lack of wildlife. As a community group we decided to look up a Friends of the Earth meeting as we had heard they liked to achieve rather than lecture. The 10x greener project was brought up and it seemed to fit well with Newtown. I could see that the project had great potential to create and sustain community spirit and in turn help reduce the drug-taking and fly-tipping that is so vmery prevalent at the moment."
Lisa Miller works very hard organising the community group, she felt passionately about the preservation of the local area, "It tied in with plans we had for our community group. We wanted to motivate the area and improve planting, to make the area look more cared for- and to discourage fly tipping and other antisocial behaviour. In particular we wanted to regenerate our alleyways and improve planters and dead spaces. When I saw 10xGreener online I thought that’s us!
We have had several litter picking sessions which have been well attended and we hope the neighbours will also support this new project – its dead exciting….
Now the fundraising starts, we need to raise £6500 to fund a Postcode Gardener working in the CH1 community, one day a week, for a whole year. This is an exciting project and it’s fantastic to be the first project in the North, now we need to find the money. Helen
What is the project about ?
Friends of the Earth wants to empower communities to bring nature to their neighbourhoods by raising funds for a Postcode Gardener.
Why we want to do it ?
In general, we’ve found that most people want to see their streets become greener – but not everyone is fully aware of just how many benefits nature brings to our communities, or how vital it is in order to tackle climate emergency. This is your chance to amaze people with just how much nature can do for us if we let it thrive.
However, 10xGreener is as much about building stronger communities as it is about bringing back nature. While developing this project, we’ve found that getting outside and greening is an amazing way to get people talking, making new friends and learning from each other – and more resilient communities are exactly what we need in the face of climate crisis.
Questions and answers
What area will the project cover?
Overall project area
What is 10xGreener?
10xGreener is a pilot project run by Friends of the Earth to empower communities to bring back anature to their streets, by tackling the main barrier to urban greening – the fact that while most people want to see their streets become greener, they don’t necessarily have the time or feel they have the expertise to maintain it.’
How does it work?
Communities who want to make their streets ten times greener come together to raise funds for a Postcode Gardener – an individual from that community who can maintain and increase greenery in that neighbourhood, whilst making sure that the community are fully involved in every step.
Once enough funds are raised, the local partner running the project will find the perfect person for the role. The Postcode Gardener will then bring the community together to create a vision of how they want to see their streets transformed.
One of the differences to other community gardening projects is that Postcode Gardeners can work on public or private land (with permission!) – it’s likely that in a lot of areas, supporting residents to green up their front gardens, or businesses to green up their properties, makes a massive difference to the amount of wildlife and nature. However, they will only work on publicly visible land, so that the whole community can benefit.
Once the vision is decided, they’ll get to work with you to transform your neighbourhood!’
How do you know this works?
Friends of the Earth have already piloted this approach in two postcodes – E5 (Hackney) in London, and EX39 (Bideford) in North Devon.
The 10xGreener E5 Postcode Gardener has been working in the community for just over six months – in that time, they’ve been smashing up concrete to make space for nature, planting an anti-pollution garden and convincing the council to trial a glyphosate-free zone to help wildlife.
The 10xGreener EX39 Postcode Gardener has been working in the community for around 4 months – they’ve been hard at work transforming several disused verges in a car park into edible havens for locals, planting herbs, strawberries, blackberries, rhubarb and more!’
How much Postcode Gardener time will this money get us?
We want to be the next project with a post code gardener. We aim to be the first project in the North. We want to raise enough funding to cover one or more gardeners for at least 300 hours per year.
Where will the money go?
When you pledge to this crowdfunder, 90% of your contribution will be used to support your Postcode Gardener, managed by your local partner.
10% of your contributions help the team at Friends of the Earth grow the project. We’ve been working hard to turn 10xGreener from a rough idea into something that could be replicated across the country. We want to develop more resources, guidance and support for our 10xGreener projects, and help more communities get their own Postcode Gardeners.
What happens if you don’t crowdfund enough?
We will not go ahead with the project and your pledges will be returned to you.
What happens if you crowdfund more than needed?
This is a community-owned project so what they do with the money will be decided by them! Some options are:
• More Postcode Gardener time (our advised option)
• Plants/soil/planters etc – these can often be gained for free through collaborations with local businesses so consider whether this is best use of funds
• Other tools ie. trowels, wheelbarrows, shovels.
We would love to have even more Postcode Gardener time, or even a team of two or three Postcode Gardeners, as we would be able to achieve so much more. Plus there’s always possibilities for spending on plants and greenery.
That being said, this is your project – if we were to grow it at any point, we’d want your thoughts and input on what that looks like for CH1.
What happens when the year is up/you run out of funding?
This is a pilot project but we are hoping to prove that a Postcode Gardener is an amazing asset for the community and something that people want to invest in longer term.
Friends of the Earth are working with their 10xGreener groups to try different models of keeping this funded – they’re currently testing a regular contribution model in Hackney, where anyone from the community can support the project regularly, giving as much as they can in the way that works best for them.
In the long term, as long as there is funding coming in, and the community are keen to keep their Postcode Gardener, we’ll be able to keep 10xGreener in CH1 going.
What happens if the project stops for another reason?
We think this is unlikely. However, should the project need to be stopped for some reason in the future, any remaining funding will be passed to Eco Communities UK to use for other green projects in the region.
The percentage of contributions given to Friends of the Earth will remain with the organisation to continue to protect the wellbeing of people and planet, including their work to protect and make space for nature and biodiversity across the country.
What kind of work will the Postcode Gardener do?
Postcode Gardeners bring people together around making their neighbourhoods greener, healthier, happier places to live – they’ll run planting and greening events, give you advice on how to bring back nature in your own home, and get the community involved in making decisions about how to transform the neighbourhood.’
Will they be able to do gardening for me?
Postcode Gardeners are supported by the whole community, and so can only work on publicly visible land – they will not provide private gardening services. You may choose to give them access and permission to do nature-friendly gardening in your front garden if the community feels that would be a great site to work on that everyone would benefit from.