A community project in Stourport is set to receive a specially designed garden in recognition of its outstanding service to local people. 

On Wednesday, January 24, expert horticulturalists from the Eden Project alongside a team from Muddy Boots Groundcare CIC will be planting a garden at Food Share Wyre Forest after it was crowned the UK's friendliest community. 

People of all ages are set to roll up their sleeves and muck in to transform the previously disused outdoor space into a multipurpose garden with a special Big Lunch planned to bring everyone together.

Food Share Wyre Forest, which distributes food to over 300 people each week, hopes the brand-new garden will transform its outdoor space and allow volunteers to provide much-needed access to homegrown food, outdoor opportunities and boost social connections. 

Founder of Food Share Wyre Forest, Vel McMillan, said: "As a food share, we let visitors choose what they can use to provide healthy meals and save huge amounts of good food being binned and wasted. 

"It's about trying to reduce shame and change the perception of food banks. It's just as much about reducing waste and sharing food together as it is about supporting people who might be struggling to pay for their shopping." 

Food Share Wyre Forest was established in 2022 at Walshes Community Centre and is now a "lifeline" in the community, supported by Community Housing, who own the centre. 

The project was awarded the prize garden after winning the Eden Project Communities' Coronation Communities rewards scheme as part of the Coronation Big Lunch in 2023. 

Residents living locally are invited to use the hall where anyone in need can donate a few pounds and pick up essentials each week with the food being sourced from local supermarkets and businesses. 

Volunteers also use the food to cook pay-as-you-can hot breakfasts each week on top of a big roast lunch to provide much-needed opportunities for the community to sit down, eat and chat together. 

Eden Project Communities Programme Director, Lindsey Brummitt, said: "Food Share Wyre Forest is a shining example of what is possible when people come together where they live. Like many other communities, people are facing a difficult situation, but they're being incredibly resourceful.

"Transforming and using what they have, they're growing a caring local support network that nurtures social connections. We were so impressed that it was a unanimous decision by the panel to reward them as Coronation Communities winners."

The build coincides with the launch of the new YouGov research from Eden Project Communities revealing that more than six in 10 UK adults say they would like to spend more time outdoors during winter with a further 72% of the population reporting that spending time in nature boosts their wellbeing. 

Ms Brummitt added: "Since 2010, we’ve been bringing people together to create happier and healthier communities thanks to National Lottery players.

"The build and planting in January kicked off The Big Lunch 2024 campaign which takes place on June 1 and 2 and centres on our connections with each other and the natural world.” 

For more information visit www.TheBigLunch.com