Chatting with a small group of neighbours, we discussed how to get to know more people locally. We also wanted to keep Jo Cox’s legacy alive so decided to do a Great Get Together event back in 2017. We met outdoors with food, drink, music, games and children’s activities. Since we had so much fun we decided to make it a yearly event. A local WhatsApp group was established to share photos and plans, and although physical get togethers have had to stop for now, the WhatApp has helped us to exchange messages and support each other during the coronavirus lockdowns.
At a similar time, another local person came forward with an idea about setting up a wildlife garden, on a disused piece of land. Our group of neighbours liked this idea and wanted to support it. We began to work together on clearing paths through the space and planting wildflowers and shrubs, with support from Kirklees Council and other local growing groups. It became the Birkby Community Wildlife Garden.
The garden has been discovered and enjoyed by many local people during this last year or so. People use it as a place to walk and relax – a pocket of nature in the town.
It is still supported by a team of volunteers, and I act as an admin for the new Birkby Community Wildlife Garden Facebook group. People now celebrate and generally respect this local space. We’re keen to link with other partners so that we can develop it further.
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Thank you to Lorna for sharing this story after participating in one of our “How can more people come together to make local places better?” online workshops for Kirklees citizens.