People are being asked to take part in a national vote to help Plymouth Grow Wild right in the heart of the city centre.
An exciting plan has been put forward to create a corridor of wildflowers along Armada Way – from ‘City to Sea’.
The project could be in with a chance to win £120,000 of Big Lottery Funding to help communities transform their area through Grow Wild, a mass participation programme around UK native wild flowers.
Supported by the Big Lottery Fund and led by Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Grow Wild inspires communities, friends and neighbours to come together to transform local spaces by sowing, growing and enjoying native wild flowers.
The Plymouth site is now one of only five on a national shortlist in and the winning site will be chosen by public vote in a national campaign which launches on 7 October – next Tuesday – and will go on for a month. The other Grow Wild England projects are based in East London, Bristol, Sheffield and Liverpool/Manchester.
Led by the Council, City to Sea aims to create a striking wildflower corridor from the train station along Armada Way, connecting the city centre to the historic Hoe. The kilometre-long planting plan will open up and reconnect views along bustling Armada Way and inspire and stimulate commuters, shoppers, visitors and businesses.
City to Sea will have a mix of native wildflowers and even fruit for passers-by to enjoy.
Not only has the City to Sea flagship site the potential to transform Armada Way with colour and flowers, but the aim is to bring this strip of land alive with events for schools and the wider community through planting, bug hunts and other events designed to get more city folk to interact with nature.
Councillor Brian Vincent, cabinet member for the environment said: “This is such a great scheme, I’d love everyone to back what we are doing and vote.
“Many Plymouth people commented on how fantastic the wildflowers in the Jigsaw Garden looked – well, this is a chance to do something similar but on a great scale. Our city centre needs to keep bringing in visitors and shoppers and this is a great idea that will refresh the landscape as well as open up some incredible views from city to sea.”
Gay Coley, Director of Public Programmes for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew said: “These shortlisted Grow Wild flagship projects showcase some fantastic ideas of how people can transform urban space with wild flowers, for the benefit of the whole city and for the environment. The five shortlisted sites are all imaginative steps towards Grow Wild’s overall ambition to re-engage the nation with nature. It is great to see the involvement from local communities in each city at this important stage in the projects.”
Peter Ainsworth, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, said: “Our Fund is proud to support projects which improve the quality of life for all. We know that making the places where we live more beautiful and connected to the natural world can give a real boost to happiness. Grow Wild aims not only to make places look better but also feel better. The involvement of young people is so important; they have a chance to make a big difference to the world they will inherit.”
The vote for flagship sites in England is the second of Grow Wild’s special projects to take place. The inaugural flagship was launched earlier this year in Barrhead, Scotland, following a public vote. A call for nominations for flagship sites in Northern Ireland and Wales will be made later this autumn.
The vision is to transform Armada Way into a buzzing green events and learning space – benefitting the whole of Plymouth. Schools will be invited take part in the Big Sow, when over 1,000 pupils will sow wild flower seeds. The site will host bug hunts led by Buglife, incredible edible adventures with Food Plymouth and other events designed to inspire young people to interact with nature.
Partners involved Natural Connections (Plymouth University), The Zone Youth Centre, Plymouth City Centre Company, Buglife, FotoNow, Food Plymouth. For more information visit our Grow Wild web page. To vote vote.growwilduk.com.
Grow Wild launched in 2012 with the aim of inspiring three million people to take direct action for UK native plants.
Grow Wild is creating four high-profile flagship sites; one in each UK country, voted for by the public and rolled out between 2014 and 2017. Each receives £120,000 to create a site which will inspire Grow Wild participants, involve young people and leave a lasting footprint in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The English flagship is the second of Grow Wild’s special projects to take place. The inaugural flagship was launched earlier this year in Barrhead, Scotland, following a public vote. Voting opens at 8am on 7 October. The public can vote online at vote.growwilduk.com or to vote for Plymouth City to Sea call 0808 228 7701
The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for giving out 40 per cent of the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. The fund is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and awards grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK. Since June 2004, BIG has awarded over £5 billion to communities across the UK. For more details visit www.biglotteryfund.org.uk.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development.
Kew Gardens is also a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew’s country estate, Wakehurst Place, attract nearly two million visitors every year. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. RBG Kew and its partners have collected and conserved seed from 10 per cent of the world’s wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). www.kew.org.