Work started on wildlife garden

Volunteers raise funds, appoint landscapers and work on improving Ellington Park in Ramsgate.

Friends group: formed in 2008
Friends group: formed in 2008

A friends group is creating a wildlife garden in their local park - securing funding, engaging landscape architects and carrying out much of the work themselves.

Work is due to start within the next few weeks in a currently waterlogged and underused part of Ellington Park in Ramsgate, Kent. It will feature a new pond, shrubs, benches, sculptures and insect hotels.

The Friends of Ellington Park is in negotiations with "prestigious landscape architects based in Canterbury" to design the project and has also engaged the help of the Kent Wildlife Trust.

The Whistling Gardener will create the pond, while digging, planting and maintenance will be carried out by a team of more than 60 volunteers closely supervised by the friends group committee.

This is just the first stage in the group's plans, made possible with a £50,000 award from the People's Millions fund last year. The aim is a wholesale refurbishment of the park and a Heritage Lottery Fund bid is planned. Fencing, gates and refurbishments of historic structures including a Victorian bandstand are all on the wish list.

Committee member Joseph Dance said: "We've had a lot of support from Chris Booler, a senior ecologist at the Environment Partnership and a local resident. Chris is very passionate about the park and has been enormously helpful to date providing advice and guidance."

As well as being a peaceful place to visit, the group hopes the wildlife garden will be an outside classroom for teaching local schoolchildren about wildlife and ecology.

Campaigning Friends of Ellington Park

The Friends of Ellington Park was formed in 2008 and started campaigning to raise the profile of the park as a community venue as well as to attract funding to improve facilities and develop new projects.

Chair Beverley Perkins said: "We're really fortunate to have so many dedicated volunteers working with us to ensure the park continues to improve.

"There's still a lot to do but we're confident that we can turn the park into one of Ramsgate's biggest assets."

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