A stretch of land between Birkenhead Fire Station and the new state-of-the-art youth zone, the Hive, has been transformed into an oasis of calm thanks to partnership working.
In a project that has involved the Birkenhead Constituency Committee, local councillors, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, the Hive, local young people and a number of private contractors, the land has been transformed into a peaceful garden area within the hustle and bustle of central Birkenhead.
Those youngsters who visit the Hive have also been at the forefront of designing the garden, which features a number of seating areas, raised beds, beehives, bird boxes and a greenhouse, donated by B&Q.
The work has been carried out by local volunteers, supported by employees of Engie and Benchmark, who are contracted to maintain the area around the Fire Station as part of the PFI agreement managed by Balfour Beatty. The land is owned by Merseyside Fire and Rescue.
Cllr Phillip Brightmore, Wirral Council Cabinet member for Environment, said: “This is a fantastic example of local people and a range of organisations coming together to show much they love where they live.
“This was an unused, bare piece of land and represented a divide between the two buildings. The work that has taken place here has not only made the area look more attractive, it has brought these two neighbours together at the same time.”
Some of the young people who took part in the project are taking part in an Enterprise and Employability course at the centre.
Gill Pleavin, who co-ordinates the course, said: "Watching the group of young people working together has been fantastic. They have only been together for four weeks but they already recognise each other’s strengths and were able to decide who should work on each part of the garden project. They were able to organise themselves to make sure all the work was completed within the timescales."
Ash Georgeson, one of the course members, added: "I enjoyed the garden project and the chance to work on some designs for it. It’s been one of the best parts of the Enterprise and Employability programme.
And another course member, Lindsey Hitchmough, said: "Working on the Hive garden has given me a good idea about what it’s like to work outside, and I think this is something I would like to look into as a career."
As the finishing touches were being made to the garden last week, judges from North West in Bloom stopped by to take a look and evaluate it as part of Birkenhead in Bloom’s entry to the annual competition.
Cllr George Davies, the Chair of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee, added: “We’re proud of the contribution this project has made to improving the local environment even more and it is a major contributor to our ‘In Bloom’ activities this year. We’ll find out later on what the judges thought, but I’m sure they will have been impressed by what has been achieved here.”