Belying the summer to come, on a cold and grey June day a cheque was handed over to representatives from the Somali Resource Centre and the charity Agora (www.agora.uk.com) in front of the Peace Garden on the forecourt of the inclusive community Mosque in Barton Hill. Our visit to the Somali Resource Centre at the Barton Hill Settlement in November 2012 and subsequently meeting a representative from Agora had led on to their initial application for a grant to help with the planting of fruit trees on the forecourt of the mosque together with fruit bushes and fruit trees for the Somali Allotments. The Centre works to create a strong and vibrant Somali community that is fully integrated into British Society as active civic, social and economic participants. The Settlement is a community led regeneration project and it is in Barton Hill many of the Somali and other immigrant communities have settled.
The Somali community allotment site is on Strawberry Lane. It is here on a sunny, sloping site the Somali community has been given space for their allotments. Over two years the ground has been cleared and is now being planted with vegetables, fruit bushes and fruit trees. Barton Hill is an area of Bristol with few green spaces and little other opportunity for residents to interact with the natural world or with horticulture.
Every year the Avon Gardens Trust is able to give grants to school and community projects. The determination of the Somali Resource Centre to provide a stable hub for their community and the dedication and enthusiasm shown by them for creating a peaceful green space in front of the mosque and to encouraging the growing of vegetables and fruit were initiatives we were pleased to support.