It's a garden to cherish

thisisoxfordshire: Members of Echoes Art Group, who have completed work for display in the community garden Buy this photo » Members of Echoes Art Group, who have completed work for display in the community garden

A GARDEN created for the local community was celebrated in East Oxford this week.

Dozens of volunteers have spent the last few months transforming a neglected backyard at the East Oxford Community Centre into a garden.

The centre, on the corner of Cowley Road and Princes Road, is used by more than 20 community groups.

Yesterday a celebratory tea party was held, along with the unveiling of artwork created by Artscape, an art group for dementia sufferers and their carers.

Lizzy McBain, from Fusion Arts, which runs 10 regular art groups at the centre, said: “The garden is now ready and being used by lots of groups from the centre.

“We hope it will be a work in progress, constantly evolving and we have plans for lots of different artwork by different groups to go up.

“We wanted to thank everyone who has donated time, seeds, plants and paint to our project to create a space in which all users of the community centre can use to meet, talk, work and play.”

Tenants of the centre, along with Fusion Arts and the Trustees of The East Oxford Community Association, were awarded £500 from Oxford City Council to tidy up the space.

Volunteers started getting busy sweeping, weeding and tidying in May and the yard is now up and running, being used by many of the groups.

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Many of the tools and other equipment were also donated from local businesses and community members.

Ms McBain said: “I think this is a space which will be really well used.

“We haven’t had somewhere like this before, but now we have art classes out there, tai chi classes and people sit out there to talk.”

Artwork created by Echoes, a group made up of dementia sufferers and their carers, was unveiled on the outside wall in the garden on Monday.

The group, run by Artscape, meets in the centre weekly and their latest work was inspired by a trip to the Botanical Garden.

Artscape project manager Tom Cox said: “Echoes is a very supportive group where carers are as much a part as the sufferers of dementia.

“About 15 participants have created three panels which have gone up there. They’ve really risen to the challenge.

“The group meets every Tuesday and it’s as much about supporting the participants as the artwork itself.”

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