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SPOTLIGHT ON… Grozone

A hidden garden oasis

Grozone is a hidden garden oasis offering a friendly and warm welcome to its local communities in Northwich, Cheshire.

Established over 10 years ago by Groundwork Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, Grozone was developed on an abandoned and long derelict site. The local community first banded together in designing a new garden here in 2008, and once planning permission had been granted, a huge tidy up could begin.

By 2010, Grozone was awarded £48,000 from the People’s Millions to boost the project’s project and the garden continued to flourish, forever evolving, with the addition of bee hives, a yurt for the winter, and a greenhouse with the capacity for water harvesting.

As time went on, it was awarded more funding by people who realised how vital the hub was, allowing the site to open up more regularly and with specialised events for toddlers and volunteers.

Today, the site continues to welcome a wide range of people and communities engaging in all sorts of activities. Grozone grows its own fresh fruit and veg in a range of wheelchair-friendly raised beds and greenhouses and even has its own orchard. There’s also a wildflower meadow, wildlife pond, beehives, a compostable toilet, an amazing outdoor kitchen, a yurt, and a forest school area.

Today, Grozone is a thriving community hub with open sessions for visitors and volunteers and for people of all ages and abilities. Anyone can drop by to learn new skills, meet new people, or just simply enjoy being outdoors in a calming green space.

Local resident Roy Pearce was encouraged by his daughter to visit Grozone after his wife of 46 years, Carole, passed away and he was left feeling lost for what to do with his time.

Roy always makes sure people are welcome and can get involved with the tasks for the day all while dishing out his sunny smile. Roy has met a new group of friends and is now also with other local volunteering projects, trying new things, and lots of social events too!

“I’ve found the garden to be a lifeline”
 Roy Pearce

Shelagh and Vicky have been coming to Grozone since 2019. They are expert weeders, no flower bed is too overgrown for these two! And Vicky can join in with food growing in the site’s accessible raised beds, using long-handled tools.

Shelagh has been central to gathering Grozone volunteers together in a place of joy, including organising a Jubilee Party and a Summer Sports Day!

“For us, it’s about our wellbeing.  We come to make new friends and learn skills”
Shelagh and Vicky

Grozone has green credentials beyond growing too. The site is off-grid and so heating comes from wood fires and a small amount of electricity is generated from solar panels, meaning Grozone is carbon neutral in energy production and usage. There have been lots of tree planting on site too, including hedgerows and fruit and nut trees. Not only do these produce flowers and food for the local residents and wildlife but also are storing carbon as they grow.

The team creates all their own compost, using waste materials from the site, and transferring the nutrients back into the soil. They also collect large amounts of rainwater used for watering plants in the summer.

Grozone is open every Tuesday – Thursday, 10am – 3pm.

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