Lend a hand to create a special space for Harrogate

25 January, 2023 12:10 pm

Green-fingered members of Harrogate’s community are being invited to help our students and staff create a garden of sanctuary.

Our college – a recognised College of Sanctuary – is transforming part of its campus into a space where refugees, in particular, can enjoy a quiet moment while appreciating nature.

Many displaced people do not own land where they can relax or grow things. The new garden is being created to address that and has been designed by, and for, refugees.

Local residents, and especially Harrogate-based refugees and those working with them, are being urged to join staff and students as they forge ahead with creating the attraction.

Youth Social Action Apprentice, Florence Clarke-Drayson, said: “This project is open to staff, students and members of the community, so it’s a great way to meet new people.

“We have ensured that our refugee students are at the heart of the garden and we want them to be involved at each stage so they get ownership, feel proud and can enjoy the process of creating and growing.

“We would welcome a helping hand from local residents, especially refugees and asylum seekers and those who are supporting them, as we move forward.

“We started the scheme to give people an outdoor space that they can take care of. Gardening and working outdoors can be excellent for mental health and wellbeing, and often refugees and asylum seekers don’t have these outdoor spaces or ownership over space.

“We want to make a location that will be calming and allow people to work with, and appreciate, nature.”

In 2022 the college, which prides itself on providing an inclusive environment, was awarded College of Sanctuary status in recognition of its work to support refugees and those seeking asylum.

Florence added: “By working to create our Garden of Sanctuary, you’ll be putting our values of inclusivity and sustainability into action.

“This disused piece of land is currently not much to look at and partially overgrown. But we’re aiming, with the help of the local community, to transform it into a peaceful space that will  include a number of features including vegetable and flower beds and a winding path.

The Gardening Group meets for two hours every Thursday from 2pm, meeting at the college reception. For more details email florence.clarkedrayson@leedscitycollege.ac.uk.