Building and supporting a sense of community is something we have always been passionate about at Preim.
In the midst of lockdown, however, the purpose of community has become more important than ever. Many of us have found ourselves connecting with neighbours, supporting vulnerable individuals in our community and even adapting community projects to keep them moving whilst staying socially distant.
We have certainly been inspired by the community spirit shown at the developments we work with. We caught up with our community mobilisers to learn about what has been happening in their neighbourhoods and how they have been supporting one another during such challenging times…
Chris Tanner, Preim’s community mobiliser at Tadpole Garden Village in Swindon, noticed that once lockdown restrictions were announced residents started working together (virtually) to support one another.
That included creating a Tadpole Garden Coronavirus Support Group and Chris created his own list of resources for people to make the most of whilst at home. You can read Chris’ list of wellbeing resources here.
Knowing that many residents had been spending more time cooking in lockdown, Chris also started ‘A Taste of TGV’ – calling for residents to submit their recipes, with a chance of being included in a community cookbook!
Anna Grimshaw, community mobiliser for Kilnwood Vale in West Sussex, explained that residents had set up a support group to help those in isolation – for example, helping with shopping or picking up prescriptions. A brilliant show of neighbourly support.
A while ago we wrote about the fantastic Community Land Project, championed by residents in St Eval Park in Cornwall. During lockdown, the community area has truly come into its own with resident Claire explaining: “During the lockdown we feel that the community land has provided the whole village with a central place where people could feel connected.” Creative thinking allowed them to install a one-way system through the area, they collected and sowed wildflower seeds and even grew pumpkin seedlings for 40 youngsters to take home (all in the hope of growing the biggest pumpkin come Hallowe’en). A great way to keep everyone’s spirits high!
It was undoubtedly a big blow for the Tadpole Garden Village Britain in Bloom group when the RHS cancelled the 2020 competition. Along with many other residents, Pete and Stu had been working extremely hard preparing the village for it’s 2020 entry (you can read their story here). Despite this set back, Pete, Stu and the gardening club have been working harder than ever and thinking creatively to stay socially distant whilst they develop their allotment plots, tend to planters and introduce great gardening and community initiatives throughout the development.
Despite the lockdown, emergencies will still occur and at Tadpole Garden Village exactly that happened with a number of travellers moving onto privately owned land on the estate. With a swift response from the developer, Crest Nicholson, and Preim, the issue was resolved within a matter of days and our contractors arrived on site as soon as possible to clean up the litter left behind.
Chris was vital in making sure residents were kept up to speed with the issue and what was being done to resolve it. The support shown by the community, in what was a difficult situation, was outstanding – with many residents offering to help in the clean-up effort.
Messages of thanks from residents included:
“Great work! I know it was a difficult and worrying situation for all but I have to say yours [Chris’] and Rahul’s efforts to push this, protecting our village, keeping us updated, linking key parties such as SBC, Crest, Preim etc is heart warming.”
“Thank you so much Chris Tanner for all the work you’ve put in during this week and for all the communication that you’ve given us.”
Altogether, a fantastic show of community support to ensure green spaces remain available for all to enjoy.
Tadpole Garden Village residents pooled together to donate items to the Scrapstore Swindon project early in June. Whilst the Britain in Bloom team are fundraising to support the introduction of a frontline workers memorial at the community – learn more about the project here.
Keeping themselves busy, the team also raised £100 at a socially distant allotment event!
Another successful open plot event today, offering produce and plants grown on our community allotment. Thanks to all our wonderful residents who supported us and raised over £100. @swindonadver @RHSBloom @The_RHS @GWandShows @BBCWiltshire @PreimLtd @CrestNicholson pic.twitter.com/fZfJM41Vj1
— TGV In Bloom (@in_tgv) June 14, 2020
Of course, all developments have also seen residents (of all ages!) proudly displaying rainbows in their windows in support of key workers and the NHS.
And last, but by no means least, neighbours have been keeping each other laughing too. Both Monksmoor Park and Kilnwood Vale have seen visits from ‘resident dinosaurs’!