Leiston United Church sits in the heart of Leiston, both geographically and in terms of the community, with its church hall providing the town’s most central community facility. On the church grounds there is an unused outdoor space, gated at one end and blocked off by a 12ft high wall at the other. The Methodist church has recognised that with the right development, this 'church square’ could not only provide the church hall with an enormous upgrade but also provide a unique opportunity to create an inspirational public space.
The Leiston Community Garden project is being led by Leiston United Church, in partnership with the Leiston Community Land Trust. When complete, the project will see the existing church flow into a community garden, which will feature a bandstand for performances, space for future food and craft markets, and a community thoroughfare for access to retail outlets nearby. The money awarded by Benefact Trust will also go toward enhancements to the church hall.
Work on the Leiston project is set to begin in the autumn and should see the space available for community access by the end of 2021.
Andrew Crisp, a trustee of Leiston Community Land Trust, said: “The idea of this multi-use community space, and of a positive enhancement to the church buildings, is something we’ve been discussing for some time, but the ambitious nature of the project has always meant that funding would be key.
“We’re extremely grateful to Benefact Trust for awarding us this sum of money. It really does boost the momentum of our work on the scheme, and means we are now much more likely to achieve the target of completing this entire project by the close of the year.”
Chloe Ewen, Grants Officer for Benefact Trust, commented: “We are always keen to support initiatives which help to bring churches and Christian charities closer to their communities.
“We are excited to see the finished garden and know that it will make a significant difference to the people of Leiston for years to come.”
For more information about the project, you can contact the Leiston Community Land Trust by emailing email@example.com
To support a crowdfunding initiative for the project, or to view the plans, go to: www.leistonclt.co.uk