New life for a derelict site in Stoke Aldermoor, Coventry

The planning team.

The site of St Catherine’s temporary church is now being transformed into a community garden.  

An old prefabricated building on an acre of land was used for St Catherine’s Church until 2019 when the new church building was completed. The building also housed a number of community groups and social enterprise groups including Proof Bakery until December 2021.  

The portacabin which had been leaking for a number of years was finally deemed unsafe in December 2021. Church leaders consulted extensively with residents and church members to find an alternative use of the space that would meet local needs. Residents and church members said that high quality green space for adults and a play space for children were the top priorities. A community landscape architect was engaged to translate residents’ and church members’ ideas into a viable plan, at an estimated costs of £114,000. Since then, the church has been fundraising for the project, which includes children’s play space, a garden room with accessible toilet and small kitchen, a BBQ area, raised beds for vegetable and plant growing, seating, a nature zone and a food bank store.  

The project is now well underway, with the final component, the Garden Room, due to be installed by the end of November.  

The project is underway.

Several funders have generously contributed to the project, including the FCC Community Fund, Severn Trent Water, Benefact Trust, West Midlands Combined Authority (Green Grants), Garfield Weston Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund. 

Project Leader, Helen Tebbatt, said:

“It is extremely exciting to see that site being transformed into a safe outside space that all can use. Fundraising has been hard work and we’re very grateful to all the funders.” 

The garden will be accessible to anyone to drop in during daylight hours, including food bank users, and available to groups who book space in the church building.  

Richard Smith, FCC Communities Foundation, Senior Grant Manager, says:

“We’re delighted to be supporting the improvements work to create the community garden at St Catherine’s Church and pleased our funding will benefit so many people. FCC Communities Foundation is always happy to consider grant applications for projects that improve local communities and we’re looking forward to this one making a difference very soon.” 

Sue Heyes, Severn Trent Community Fund Officer, said:

“We are so proud to help St Catherine’s get this wonderful work done. It has been a total transformation and one that will benefit the whole community for generations to come. We look forward to seeing people of all ages enjoying the newly created garden and everything it has to offer.” 

Paul Playford, Senior Grants and Operations Officer for Benefact Trust, said:

“It’s a privilege to support the creation of St Catherine’s Community Garden, which will be a valuable space for local people of all ages. The garden will be an oasis away from the stresses of daily life, where the community can gather and connect.” 

Nicola Thurbon, Senior Head of Funding for the Midlands at The National Lottery Community Fund, said:

“Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding has helped St Catherine’s to create a nature garden and improve a space that matters to the local community. The Community Garden will provide a sanctuary for children, adults and families to come together, feel safe and improve the lives of people living in a deprived area of Coventry.” 

First published on: 20th November 2023
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