Life enhancing projects set to bag their share of £30,000 prize pot

Christine Parker-Cale in her Phoenix Garden, one of the community projects that will win a cash sum from the Tesco Bags for Help scheme.
Christine Parker-Cale in her Phoenix Garden, one of the community projects that will win a cash sum from the Tesco Bags for Help scheme.
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Three exciting projects in the Ribble Valley, that could help to transform the lives of many people, have been chosen for cash prizes that could make a huge difference.

The Phoenix Garden and the Bee Good project at Gazegill Organics, both in Rimington and a plan to create an outdoor green classroom at Brookside Primary School in Clitheroe will share a pot of £30,000 from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme which is the money raised from the sale of 5p carrier bags.

The money will be handed out on a first, second and third prize basis and whoever clinches the top amount of £12,000 and the second and third prizes of £10,000 and £8,000 depends on shoppers at the Tesco store in Clitheroe’s Duck Street.

They will be given a token to vote for each of the three projects. Voting began on Monday and runs until Sunday, November 13th.

Tesco’s Community Champion Nadine Rawcliffe said: “These projects are all so worthy in their own way and they are all guaranteed a cash sum that will make a real difference. and each one is a winner.”

The Phoenix Garden project was launched by Christine Parker-Cale at her home in Rimington and she has spent four years transforming it into a haven for people coping with a range of mental and physical health issues.

Christine embarked on her plan as substantial evidence supports the theory that “green” therapy helps people coping with a range of mental health issues. This struck a chord with Christine as she has battled a rare condition and serious mental health issues all her life but there was nothing like this therapy available to her.

People who go to the Phoenix Garden can enjoy peace, tranquility and also grow their own fruit, vegetables and flowers as therapy. Christine (64) has poured thousands of her own cash into the project and at the moment she is struggling to get volunteers on board to help her. So a cash prize will be a real shot in the arm.

What makes Christine’s achievement even more remarkable is the fact that so many people doubted she could get the project off the ground. But her tenacity proved them wrong.

Christine said: “I am not on a ego trip with this project. I have done everything in my life that I have wanted to do and now I want to help others. I have years of gardening expertise and knowledge that I want to offer.”

Staff and pupils at Brookside Primary in Bright Street were thrilled to learn they are in line for a cash boost. Plans have been drawn up for an outdoor learning classroom and biodiversity environment for the pupils and also for the community that would develop a culture of respect for now and for future generations to protect the natural world.

Bug boxes, watch and grow planters, water features and a work bench would be created in the classroom along with a sensory garden planted by children with the help of their parents.

Packs will also be created for children and parents to use at home to prompt ideas for future development. The school aims to invite volunteers and professionals to get involved in the project too.

The Bee Good project is an extension of the work carried out at Gazegill Organics in Dancer Lane with a range of people with special needs, dementia sufferers to those recovering from accidents.

A bee house complete with bee hives will be created and a bee keeping training course will be launched along with establishing bee forage plants in an area currently overrun with himalayan balsam, a non native invasive species which is taking over the site resulting in erosion of the river bank and smothering our native bee friendly plants like foxglove.

Plans are also on the cards to install a small pond which is vital for the bees and will provide a rest area for visitors.

Staff will also be able to run training courses and involve more people in the project and create professional information packs and engaging display panels to benefit the thousands of visitors who go to Gazegill each year. Gazegill Education Project provides day activities to adults with a variety of disabilities and needs.

Activities are centred around the care farm initiative and activities include working with the farm and domestic animals,

There are also horticultural opportunities including growing herbs and vegetables in the polytunnels, carrying out conversation activities, growing and planting wild flowers and trees. People who attend are also given the opportunity to develop their life skills.