How does your garden grow? Millbrook church reaches out with new community project

A NEW community space is set to be created in Stalybridge after a local church was gifted a piece of undeveloped land.

The acre of overgrown green space off Crowswood Drive has been given for use to Reach Church on Huddersfield Road, Millbrook.

Now community garden leader Jackie Chadwick is heading up plans to transform the area for use by residents as well as the Reach congregation.

And the wife of Pastor Andy Chadwick can’t wait to get started on her latest ‘Good Life’ project.

“What the pandemic has done was shut everyone away,” she told the Correspondent. “Now, we are reluctant to come out again and play because we don’t feel as safe.

Brian Griffiths, Jimmy Esau, Emma Brierley and Jackie Chadwick

“But this new community space will be an area for people to take their first steps into the life they once had.

“The land does come with some issues but we can work through those. When I first heard about this I thought ‘I have got my hands full already, do I need this?

“But that quickly became, ‘what a gift, of course I do.”

Reach Church, a multi-generational church, moved to its present site eight years ago.

Jackie and volunteers have already created a small community garden on the main site plus a memorial rose garden.

“We run a foodbank from the church but a foodbank can’t provide fresh products,” she added. “So, we wanted to be able to do that with our planters.“Now, with this piece of land, we have the potential to feed more people with good, fresh food. That’s what I want to do; it is a simple premise.

“And when you are growing vegetables, then energy which could be spent on the negative, can be turned into a positive.”

Jackie’s first task is to clear the site, secure it and make it safe. After that she’s excited by the possibilities it can offer.

The current muddy footpath will become a gravel path with seating areas to enjoy a piece of nature on the doorstep.

Fruit trees will be planted alongside a wild meadow and variety of crops; there are proposals to transform a piece of lower ground into a pond to attract wildlife and enhance the natural habitat.

“You can come and paint, pray if you wish, knit, read a book: anything to transport people to a different space where they feel they have a sense of belonging, a sense of being understood and a sense of being listened to.

“So, everything is moving forward at full throttle,” added Jackie. “March is a great time growing time.”

• Anyone who wishes to volunteer on the new garden initiative, or help with existing projects, should email

Alternatively, pop down every Friday between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

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