Noah's garden is a vision made real at Nunthorpe church in the Darlington district. Three years ago the Dream of turning a sunny, but mostly overgrown and secluded, garden at the back of the church into a children's play area complete with swings, slide and other delights was put to the church council. Today Noah's garden is proving a great success and draws young children and their carers into the arms of the church. Fortunately the church council had faith and agreed to the financial commitment and subsequently raised £26,000 and benefited from grants from the local parish council and a number of local charitable groups including £5000 from the Jack Brunton charitable trust.
Children and young people through Brownies, Guides and the junior church's CoGs (Children of God Squad), were consulted in detail about the design and what they would like to see. Much of the ground preparation work was done by able-bodied church members. Instead of having grass which would need continued maintenance, a form of artificial play grass was used and laid professionally, as was all the play equipment including Noah's Ark, of course. There is a patio and a gazebo for the adults to enjoy.
Since its opening in the summer the garden has been used for private parties as well as by CoGs after church services while the adults have their coffee. In addition Guides and Brownies use it, the church's Children's Film Club use it, even in the dark. However, it's greatest draw is as part of the new toddlers' group set up by the church. Parents and carers flock to this group which started in September. There is a waiting list. The church-run group welcomes children with additional needs, indeed the gardener was designed with special needs in mind. Children love playing on the outdoor equipment in the safe and spacious garden, as well as the usual indoor toddlers toys. Parents have committed: "This is more than just a toddler group”.
‘A vision made real indeed.’
Garden Creation a success in Nunthorpe
Published in the Methodist Recorder 17th November 2017