University fund adds power to community and environmental projects

Ladybird on nettles, clematis and delicate yellow buttercup/marogold type flower - montage picture
The images, taken by Jeannette Boggis, from Lancaster University, who is also a volunteer with The Friends of De Vitre Gardens, capture some of the seasonal delights of the De Vitre Community Garden. Credit: J. Boggis.

A city centre community garden has grown and blossomed into a well-used public park thanks to a little help from Lancaster University.

The De Vitre Community Garden, set on a two-acre piece of land in Ashton Road, has been developed into a flourishing orchard and garden by the Friends of De Vitre Community Garden Group.

The University’s Community Benefits Fund (CBF) provided an initial grant to help with the legal costs of obtaining a lease on the site.

The community garden, which now boasts an entrance arch, fence and benches, was awarded further grants from the CBF to help with the planting of spring bulbs and fruit trees.

“The project has been highly successful transforming the area into a small, well-maintained and well used park,” says the University’s Carbon, Environment & Sustainability Manager Jon Mills.

The Friends of De Vitre Gardens website is hosted by Lancaster Green Spaces who support local community groups in developing green spaces across Lancaster District.

The Community Benefits Fund awards local communities across the Lancaster District with grant funding for community-based and environmental projects.

The fund originated with the installation of the University's wind turbine in 2012. The wind turbine produces around 14% of the overall energy demand on campus each year and the Community Benefits Fund uses some of that benefit to engage with the local community and promote sustainable projects.

Each year, the fund allocates up to £20,000 to Lancaster District-based not-for-profit organisations, charities, trusts, community groups or voluntary organisations to support sustainable projects, large and small.

Applications for the next round of funding are now open until Sunday 30 June 2024.

Any Lancaster District-based trust, community group or voluntary organisation can apply to the fund.

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