News

PEBBLE Fund has boosted biodiversity in Dudley

MP Ian Austin and the Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Hanif will join pupils from Beechwood Academy to enhance biodiversity at Jasmine Road Community Gardens in Dudley on Thursday 11 May.

They will be planting heritage apple and pear trees and sowing wildflower seeds to attract bees.

The gardens, which achieved charitable status last year, are undergoing an environmental makeover – following investment from a number of organisations, including South Staffs Water.

Located in the heart of Dudley, the gardens were set up following the closure of the St Thomas’ Network and are open for everyone to enjoy. Organisers also run a number of courses designed to teach people how to grow plants and vegetables and provide work experience and training for people who are unemployed or who have learning disabilities or mental health issues.

The water company donated £1700 towards the cost of clearing scrub on the neglected, derelict land surrounding the existing gardens.

Once clear, willow trees will be planted, which will help absorb excess water on the site and, in time, be used for basket weaving courses.  Hazel trees and other native species will help create a woodland glade to attract woodland insects and the pond will be enhanced.

Alongside this, the community gardens are also improving the entrance to their site off Jasmine Road.

On Thursday, Ian Austin MP and the Mayor, will join forces with local pupils, to help plant 20 heritage apple and pear trees. A porch entrance and new gates are to be built and “graffitied” with images of jasmine flowers.

Chairperson, of Jasmine Road Community Gardens, Janet Hilken said: “It is an exciting time of transformation for the community gardens which have literally grown from strength to strength over the past year.

“The gardens have been a real benefit for everyone in the local community – encouraging people to get outside and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

“We are really grateful to South Staffs Water, which along with a number of other organisations has enabled us to make improvements which will not only benefit the local community but also improve the ecology and biodiversity of the area.

The South Staffs award is part of £19,000 donated in the first round of funding of Projects that Explore Biodiversity Benefits in the Local Environment – or PEBBLE for short – created by the water company to provide support to organisations keen to encourage and enhance biodiversity within the South Staffs Water area of supply.

Dan Clark, Water Resources and Environment Manager for South Staffs Water, said:

“At South Staffs Water we recognise the importance of the local environment, and the part we play in the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity.

“Increasing the variety of natural living things and the diversity of the habitats where they live not only benefits wildlife, it can also enhance local communities and our open spaces.”

“We were overwhelmed at the amazing response from local projects which the PEBBLE Fund generated and look forward to seeing the results from organisations including the Jasmine Road Community Gardens.”

A second round opens from 1 May with three levels of funding ranging from £500 to £10,000 available to organisations. Projects can include anything that is designed to improve, restore or create new habitats and must be of benefit to the environment and/or the local community.

For example:

  • Creating a pond to provide a home for plants and animals
  • Planting a garden with species that provide habitats for wildlife such as birds or butterflies
  • Transforming an area of neglected, derelict or overgrown space with the addition of new plant species
  • Improving the habitat of local rivers and streams through improvements to the channel, banks and flow

To find out more visit our PEBBLE Fund page