Yesterday I met with Mr Ronnie Kendall and Cllr Scott Lewis to discuss the developments around Mr Kendall's plan to create a Community Workshop and Gardens at Holme Farm, Woodham to benefit local communities.
Community projects such as this can provide real benefits in tackling isolation, improving mental wellbeing, protecting the local environment and provide a focal point for local activities and services, becoming a true support hub within the community. Mr Kendall began his project in 2017 and is supported by his wife Chrissie, their committee and volunteers and local councillors. Mr Kendall contacted me earlier this year, and I have been pleased to support his initiative in the hope we can make his vision for a community hub a reality.
The biggest issue they have faced is access to land, with previous efforts to persuade DEFRA to relinquish unused land and buildings in Woodham for their use. Last month I held a meeting with DEFRA Minister Rebecca Pow and officials, I am pleased to say they have now agreed to consider a revised business case. Runnymede Borough Council have also agreed to support the project and I am delighted we are all now able to work together to drive this forward.
To make the most of this opportunity, I met with Mr and Mrs Kendall and Woodham councillor Scott Lewis to discuss how we can build on this progress. Discussions included the need for access for land surveys, ecological studies, funding options and how to assess the benefits of the project. There is still a lot of work to do to see this goal realised, but I have full confidence in Mr Kendall and his team, Cllr Lewis and all those involved in their ability and commitment to deliver this exciting project for residents of Woodham and the surrounding areas.
For more information about the project, or if you would like to get involved, please visit their facebook page here.
Across all of our communities we have armies of unseen and unsung volunteers working tirelessly to improve the lives of others. If you know of any other projects seeking to improve the local community and lives of others, I would be keen to hear about their work and how I may be able to assist.