The Gardeners' House Penzance has reached a key milestone for the project this autumn, as the team signed the lease to officially take over the building and received the keys.
The project team have now begun their search for a building contractor with a track record of working on listed buildings who oversee the full renovation of The Gardeners' House in Morrab Gardens, giving it a new lease of life.
Celebrating the natural environment - as well as keeping a record of the horticulture and botany of West Cornwall stretching back for many years - the project will see the refurbishment of a dilapidated building in the heart of Morrab Gardens at the centre of Penzance.
Connecting people, planet and place, The Gardeners’ House Penzance will become an important centre for the community, helping to improve mental and physical wellbeing. The renovated building will become a home to wellbeing workshops, green community projects and a sensory garden.
The team plans to create a welcoming and calm space to support the local community, especially those from disadvantaged situations -using the horticulture of West Cornwall, past and present, to inspire people, to include and support them, to help them learn new things and to support their wellbeing.
Miki Ashton, Project Coordinator for The Gardeners’ House said: “At the Gardeners’ House, we're all about collaboration. We're teaming up with local partners, volunteers, and community groups to create a space that's welcoming to everyone. From hands-on workshops, inspiring talks, to a varied diary of events, we can't wait to partner up on some fantastic projects.
“We're also aiming to create a living archive where ideas and local information will be preserved for generations to come. The past, present, and future are all part of our vision, where we can come together discover, record and nurture our natural environment, not just for our pleasure, but also to make a positive impact.”
Martin Tucker, Chairman of the Penzance Town Deal Board said “We are absolutely delighted to reach this milestone in this exciting project with the signing of the lease. We are really looking forward to seeing the impact The Gardeners House will have on the community and watch the progress towards becoming a centre for mental and physical wellbeing, supporting the people of Penzance. The Gardeners House is a great example of the kind of project that is really benefitting from the Town Deal.”
The Gardeners’ House, a charity based in Penzance, received £2.2 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as a grant of £896,000 from the Penzance Town Deal fund to help realise their vision.
The project will also create a home for a unique archive of documents, books and illustrations. The ‘living archive’ collection will be made accessible to the public for the first time and highlights the history of Cornwall's natural heritage.
Donated by the Hypatia Trust, the ‘living archive’ showcases the achievements and stories from the last 200 years of the men and women connected to West Cornwall’s natural heritage. Its new home will mean that the important collection is safeguarded and preserved in Penzance so that the community, researchers and visitors can learn and be inspired by it.
The hope is that it will continue to grow and include items that reflect the
thoughts, feelings and experiences of people in the community today, particularly in response to the natural world and the climate emergency.
The Gardeners’ House renovation will also include a community art project led by artists Jane Darke and Andrew Tebbs, working with the community to create designs inspired by illustrations and objects from the archive. Local craftspeople will then be commissioned to recreate these designs in stone, metal and wood that will feature in the Sensory Garden.
The Sensory Garden, made possible by generous funding from the Tanner Phoenix Trust, will be created between the Gardeners’ House and Pengarth Day Centre. It will give a tranquil safe space where people can reconnect with nature and hopes to enhance the lives of older people, particularly those living with dementia.