To coincide with the Poppy Appeal 2020 and in collaboration with the Royal British Legion Warwickshire and Birmingham County, Solihull Council has revealed the final design for the Armed Forces Community Garden in Hillfield Park.
Working closely to identify the needs of military personnel and involving local veterans and serving personnel, army medical teams and local community groups, the Council’s landscape architect has designed a garden with three distinct areas offering different habitats and activity levels.
Zone one is the formal garden which will feature a variety of sensory plants, seated areas and places for reflection. Zone two will be a summer meadow providing wild flower walks and a mini orchard. And zone three will be a newly planted community woodland. The whole site will be accessible to all ages and those with mobility issues.
The design is on display in Hillfield Park at the entrance to the area which will become the formal garden. Ground work will begin in January 2021 after the original start date this summer was delayed by the pandemic.
Councillor Alison Rolf, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities and the Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said: “I am excited to share the final designs and the news that we are about to start the work on the garden. It is going to be a peaceful sanctuary for veterans and their families as well as for local schools and members of the community. We also hope the garden will be somewhere to help people who are feeling isolated, as it will provide a welcoming place to meet up and interact with others.”
Elaine Butler, President of Warwickshire and Birmingham County Royal British Legion, said: “At this time of year we remember the debt of gratitude to the fallen, but this Garden is not just for November 11, it will be place of reflection, comfort and peace, a healing habitat to be enjoyed by people of all ages throughout the year.”
Councillor Ken Hawkins, Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways, adds: “The Armed Forces Community Garden will be a huge asset to this Green Flag park. I’m also delighted that because of additional funding from our Wildlife Ways programme, we are able to start work on all three zones of the garden in the new year. This will enhance Hillfield Park further, improve our local habitats and provide more places for people to visit.”
Keep an eye out for updates on the project by following Solihull Council and Love Solihull on Twitter and Instagram.
Healing Habitats is supported by Wildlife Ways. Healing Habitats will support a wide range of habitat and nature improvements and ensure better conservation for over 0.5 hectares of habitat.
Wildlife Ways is a £16.8 million project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which is opening up and improving existing routes, allowing wildlife to flourish and helping people to walk and cycle across the borough. For more information visit www.wildlifeways.co.uk.
Photo caption (from l-r): Elaine Butler, Cllr Ken Hawkins and Cllr Alison Rolf in Hillfield Park