Housebuilder donates wood to Faversham wellbeing garden for sustainable memory tree
07 May 2021

Woodwork enthusiasts contributing to a community wellbeing garden in Faversham will reveal a memory tree later this month thanks to a national housebuilder’s donation. Vistry Group has donated truckloads of wood from its Ospringe Gardens and Davington Fields locations to Abbey Physic Community Garden (APCG), where a memory tree, designed and constructed by members of the garden, will be unveiled by Faversham mayor Alison Reynolds on 20th May. The healing space, in Abbey Place, is used by people of all ages to socialise and be part of an inclusive outdoor project and a workshop for participants is used to make gift ideas such as bird boxes, bug hotels and hedgehog hotels. Members of the garden’s ‘Faversham Men’s Shed’, which brings together men dealing with social isolation and bereavement, will also carve leaves for visitors and shoppers to buy, with the engraved name of a loved one. The memory tree was the brainwave of members of the ACPG and they secured support from Abbey Ward councillor Denise Knights, who will unveil it alongside the mayor. Jacqueline Hunt, loneliness head at Abbey Physic Community Garden, said: “We are so grateful for Vistry’s donation to our community garden. This wood donation is fantastic, and will help new and old participants, of all ages, come into the garden and make things as part of our Men’s Shed initiative, run by Faversham Men’s Shed lead, Ian Hardie. We’ve had so many requests by visitors to plant a tree, that it would lead to a forest, so we’ve decided to create one special tree using wood and rebar. We’re making wooden leaves for anyone to buy and include details of their loved ones on. We’ll also attach ribbons to the tree. “With this donation, we’re also looking to develop the Men’s Shed further ?" and have a ladies’ equivalent ?" to be able to offer more on our online store and raise more awareness. We also want to have a market stall and be able to do small repairs for people, like picture frames and furniture. We’ve had so many requests for bug hotels, bug palaces and bird boxes! They’re so popular and so we know the demand is there, it’s just been a case of needing more wood so we can raise further money for great causes.” The garden is used by community groups, local residents and visitors from further afield to socialise and be part of a wellbeing project, while spending time outdoors. Items from the Men’s Shed, launched last year, are sold on the garden’s online store and also include bowls, keyrings, hanging displays, jigsaws and coasters. Part-time staff and trustees have been supporting members at the garden throughout lockdown and new gifts have continued to be made. Candice McCabe, regional marketing manager at Vistry Kent, which includes Bovis Homes and Linden Homes, said: “Vistry is delighted to be able to donate this wood to Abbey Physic Community Garden, to help support the workshop and participants as well as the great work staff and trustees are doing to support the community’s wellbeing in a sustainable way.” Free weekly online cookery videos using produce from the garden have been popular and there are regular community groups, classes and demonstrations held at the wellbeing space. The garden, grant funded and backed by councillors, has supported people with mental health problems for 25 years but was established as a formal charity in 2007. Anyone is invited to become a member of the garden or participate in one of the regular sessions. To find out more, email Jacqui.abbeyphysic@gmail.com or visit www.abbeyphysic.org.

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