Student uses uni skills to create estate garden

A student has used skills learned on his university course to transform an area of wasteland on a council estate in Sheffield into a flourishing communal garden.

Sam Penrose, a third year Landscape and Architecture student at the University of Sheffield, has redesigned an overgrown plot of land near the Scraith Wood estate.

He built the garden, which included demolishing a large paved area, with a team of other student volunteers.

Scraith Wood Tenants and Residents Association (TARA) said the new garden on the site of a disused play area would help bring the community together.

Peter Thornett, chair of Scraith Wood TARA, said: “What better communal area than an all-year-round flowered garden capable of producing edible crops? A gathering space and a resource.”

He said earlier plans for the abandoned space had fallen behind during the Covid pandemic.

“For two years I had wondered how to restore this disused dilapidated play area/abandoned garden,” he said.

“It seemed to me that this area should be the heart of the council estate but as Covid-19 lockdowns hit the country, the dream of community gatherings seemed further away.”

Mr Penrose said hr designed the garden to be durable, low-maintenance and accessible for all local residents.

It was funded with £6,000 from the Nature Hubs Fund, a national initiative to create new green spaces for 100 UK communities, funded by environmental charity Hubbub and coffee chain Starbucks.

Hubbub said nearly two thirds of people in the UK spend just an hour a week in nature, and the country needed 4,000 new green spaces by 2033 to maintain current levels of access to green space.

Andy Clayden, senior lecturer in the university’s School of Architecture, said it was “really exciting and rewarding” to see students using their knowledge and skills for positive change.

The garden was due to be officially opened by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield at the end of June, the university said.

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