A COMMUNITY garden in Carleton is providing an important public space for villagers to come together, socialise and relax.

Carleton in Bloom was formed in 2019 by volunteers to spruce up the green spaces in the village for residents to enjoy and also to tackle loneliness and social isolation.

Thanks to the hard work of the green-fingered volunteers, the once unusable area has been given a new lease of life and is now flourishing and providing an attractive garden space for people to benefit.

The group has recently received a welcome donation of £400 from North Yorkshire Council’s member for the Skipton West and West Craven division, Councillor Andy Solloway, towards the cost of benches to go in the community garden.

Cllr Solloway, who also supported the group last year with a grant for materials, said gardening has many benefits and he was very happy to give the group his support.

He said: “As a gardener myself, I was only too happy to support this project with two locality budget grants.

“All over the country there are community gardening projects, bringing unused spaces back into use and this one is a fine example. Gardening is wonderful, not only for improving our environment, but also for peoples’ well-being and health. Well done to all involved in the hard work and dedication to this lovely garden.”

One of the Carleton in Bloom volunteers,Vicki Woodhead, said: “We are all so grateful to Cllr Solloway for funding our latest project, which is new seating around the garden. Carleton has many terraced properties and apartments with no gardens, hence there’s a huge need for a green space.

“Providing these benches will enable people in the community and beyond to enjoy the community garden that Carleton in Bloom has created. Outdoor spaces such as this provide a haven for people."

She added: “I would also like to thank North Yorkshire Council for grants and the support we’ve received in previous years to improve the garden creating an accessible environment for all to enjoy.”

Each North Yorkshire councillor has a budget of £10,000 per year to allow them to respond to local needs by supporting specific community-led activities. Each councillor is responsible for determining how they wish to promote and use the budget.

All allocations of funding are published on North Yorkshire Council's website. Craven has nine ward councillors, all with budgets of £10,000 per year to allocate in their areas.