The Central Community Centre is in the heart of the Railway Village in Swindon. When we were looking to start planting our first site back in August 2014, The Mechanics’ Institution Trust (MIT), who run the centre, had just cleared some shrubs and were enthusiastic about our ideas. They allowed us to have a small vegetable plot allowing us to make more people aware of what we were doing. The produce was “Food To Share” and free to take for anyone.
The plot has been a success and generated positive interest with publicity via both the Swindon Advertiser and BBC Wiltshire. This year the community centre staff, local residents and Incredible Edible Swindon have all come together to plan how to convert the original small vegetable plot into a fabulous garden, growing vegetables, apples and medicinal plants. This work will take place over Summer 2015 and the medicinal herb bed is scheduled to be planted in Autumn of this year. Anyone wishing to join in is more than welcome.
It is fitting that the first Incredible Edible Swindon plot was here at the Centre, as this building was once the home of Great Western Railway Works Medical Fund Society Hospital. It was set up in 1847 by Sir Daniel Gooch, to provide health care for the large workforce at the GWR works. Gooch clearly took his social responsibilities seriously by creating the worlds first industrial organisation that required a membership of a medical fund, so it’s no surprise then that 100 years later Aneurin Bevan used this medical fund as his model for our NHS.
The Medical Fund Society Hospital once had a beautiful front garden, and although part of that disappeared after the widening of Faringdon Road, it is hoped, that what’s left will be brought back to life as a cherished space whilst retaining those important links with it’s past. It’s an exciting time at the Central Community Centre and the Railway Village as whole, and we are delighted to be helping and supporting this jewel in the centre of Swindon.
If you want to get involved in helping with the gardens at the central community centre then like their facebook page or follow them on Twitter to get any updates or head over to the Mechanics’ Institution Trust website.