The business case for a new community workshop and gardens at Holme Farm, Woodham, has been submitted to DEFRA, in a significant step it is hoped will pave the way for the exciting project to commence.
Three years ago Mr Ronnie Kendall, supported by his wife Christine, alighted on the idea of building a community workshop in Woodham, which could offer a space for people to come together, help address loneliness and support wellbeing. Since then the aims of the project have increased, with Mr Kendall and his committee of volunteers now hoping to deliver a range of facilities which could not only benefit the local community but also work with schools, charities and the NHS.
While campaigners had been working hard to set out the vision for the project and opportunities it represented, unfortunately the area they had identified as ideal for the project was deemed unsuitable by DEFRA, who currently own the land. However, at a meeting between Dr Ben Spencer MP and DEFRA Minister Rebecca Pow MP earlier this year, the Department did agree to reconsider and requested that a business case be presented.
Campaigners, led by Mr Kendall and with the support of the local MP, local councillors, Runnymede Borough Council and supported by hundreds of local residents, have been working tirelessly to prepare a comprehensive business case for the project. Dr Ben Spencer has now submitted this business case to DEFRA, in the hope this will unlock the key hurdle to realising this ambitious project.
Mr and Mrs Kendall said:
We are delighted the business case has been submitted to DEFRA and are hopefully we may soon receive approval to begin our ambitious plans for the Holme Farm site. 3 years ago we developed the idea for a community workshop and gardens at Holme Farm; the support we have received from our committee, the local community, Cllrs and Dr Ben Spencer has been instrumental in driving this forward.
The Community Workshop will provide a space for everyone to enjoy, with facilities for education and to promote wellbeing and reduce loneliness, as well as enhancing the biodiversity and local environment and we look forward to being able to deliver this for our local community.
Dr Ben Spencer MP said:
Ronnie and Christine’s vision for a Community Workshop in Woodham has the ability to provide huge benefits to the wellbeing of residents in the local area and beyond. I am delighted to have been able to support them in this work.
Both they and their supporters have put countless hours into driving this forward to benefit others. It is yet another example of the amazing spirit we have seen so much of over the past year, and I am hugely grateful for their tireless determination and commitment to bring this project to this stage.
Cllr Scott Lewis, Runnymede Councillor for Woodham and Row Town, said:
I am pleased to have been able to work with Ronnie and his team and support the Community Workshop project. Projects like Holme Farm have a wide range of community benefits, ranging from wellness, ecological, education and bringing communities together. With the current pandemic, the need for such is even greater to help local residents and all those who stand to benefit as we come out of lockdown to help heal the effects of isolation.