Guildford Launches new ‘Garden of Hope’ community project 

 

On Saturday 26th June, Guildford Town Centre Chaplain, Noelle Coe was joined by Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Marsha Moseley and other key town centre stakeholders to open the town’s new ‘Garden of Hope’ in the grounds of St. Mary’s Church on Quarry Street.

Taking inspiration from The National Covid Memorial Wall on London’s South Bank, a volunteer-led mural consisting of thousands of unique, hand-painted hearts to commemorate loved ones lost to COVID-19, Guildford’s ‘Garden of Hope’ aims to provide an accessible community space just off the high street where local residents can reflect on the past year and share messages of remembrance, hope and thanks as we emerge from the grips of the pandemic.

The project, supported by Guildford churches, Guildford in Bloom, Experience Guildford and Guildford Borough Council, will feature a number of seasonal planters that visitors are invited to leave messages in. Messages can be written on wooden plant markers provided at the site and placed in the soil. Each of the containers has been planted up with different coloured flora to denote a theme of either remembrance (yellow), thanks (pink) or hope (blue).

The garden will be open to the public to enjoy from 11.00am – 3.00pm on weekdays throughout the summer.

Commenting on the initiative, Noelle Coe, Guildford Town Centre Chaplain says:

“It’s fantastic that this venture has been such a team effort. We have brought the garden together quickly so that it can be visited by everyone throughout the summer. Please do take the time to come and leave a message.”

Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Marsha Moseley adds:

“It was an honour to attend the opening of the Garden of Hope, a project full of peace for our residents who have sadly lost friends and family during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The garden will allow visitors to come together to share messages of remembrance and thanks in the heart of our historic town centre. A big thank you to all involved in this great community project.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, Chairman of Guildford in Bloom says:

“We are so proud to have been asked to help create this wonderful garden, which will continue to grow and flourish over the summer and beyond. Our gardens and green spaces have provided such comfort and inspiration for all ages throughout the pandemic and particularly during the national lockdowns. We understand what a challenging year it has been for so many local residents and this is a special space for them to reflect and remember their loved ones.”

Cllr John Redpath, Lead Councillor for Economy and Ward Councillor for Holy Trinity says:

“We are so lucky to have so many beautiful places to visit in Guildford and the Garden of Hope will be a fantastic addition. The garden is accessible to all and is right next to our wonderful High Street. We have seen more and more people visiting our town centre since the easing of government restrictions and we know that this Garden will be very popular for those paying respects to their loved ones.”

Cllr Joss Bigmore, Leader of the Council says:

“Throughout the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak we have supported our borough’s residents and businesses and protected our vulnerable communities. It’s been incredible to see the strength of spirit shown by everyone in the borough – and an especially big thank you to all of our volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months.

“We support our borough in remembering and paying tribute to our residents and their families affected by the pandemic. Thank you to everyone involved in creating this beautiful garden and to those from our much-loved community ‘Guildford in Bloom’ for their green-fingered expertise.”

For more information on activities that the town has undertaken to support the community and businesses during COVID-19, visit www.experienceguildford.com