Please use my garden as ‘community plots’ and we can ‘grow together’

by Shane Gibson

Lifelong Filton resident Ali Slater has offered up her garden for the people of Filton to use as community plots.

Ali grew up in The Wickets and after returning from university lived on Kenmore Crescent. Last September, Ali collected the keys to her new home on Broncksea Road.

“The opportunity to buy this house came up and I was up for a bit of a project, people said that I was crazy, being a single mum and taking on such a big project, but it’s kind of what I enjoy,” explained Ali.

“It was a beautiful house, from the 1930s and was obviously prime for HMO development, but it deserved more, and being local I imagined it as a family home again.”

Ali has focused on renovating the house on the inside and making sure that her children’s needs were met first. However, her funds were not able to stretch to the 200-foot-long exterior at the rear of the house.

“It was the right thing to do, for me and the kids, but when I look outside the window, I feel that it is such a waste, I cannot do anything with it, I do not have the time or the funds,” she said.

Ali thought about how it would be nice to offer somebody without a space the opportunity to enjoy it for a few years.

She said: “I wasn’t really sure if it would be of interest to anyone, but it’s turned out to be quite popular.

“There is a fox den at the bottom of the garden that I am not willing to get rid of, I am on his patch, and I do think that there is an old brick bunker down there as well. But there is so much space, I think realistically I can hand the garden over to other people for a good while.”

Ali’s comes at a time when people need not just a space to garden but also grow food during the nation’s increased cost of living crisis. She has had quite a bit of interest since putting up a post on Filton News & Views.

“When I posted on News & Views, I did not know if there would be any interest. It seems to have become quite a popular topic.

“I think there will be more people, elderly people who are struggling to keep on top of their gardens, who would like someone to come around and use it, and would stop their gardens getting into a state like this one currently is,” she said.

The feedback to her post has been incredibly positive and has attracted the attention of a wide demographic.

She said: “I had a young girl come around to look at a plot and I know it is stereotypical, but I was not expecting it to appeal to a younger person. There was another lady, who wants to use the space to grow crops and then give the harvest back to the community.

“Even my kids’ school dinner lady has reached out to me, wanting to use a plot. It seems to have appealed to people at all stages of life. And I am hoping that I can learn from them as well.”

Ali believes that Filton has always been a nice community and appreciates living in a place where people still care for their neighbours and their community.

“I feel that Filton has always had this feeling of community, and I know that there have been problems with HMO’s and places of assisted living, but we do all deserve a place to call home and I think that we can all come together and work together, to grow together,” she said.