Written by David Gaughy Team Leader Northampton and south Northants LIVE team.
If you have ever wandered around the gardens at Delapre Abbey and wondered at the beautiful and serene surroundings it may come as a surprise that the Northampton LIVE team has a dedicated team of conservation volunteers who work tirelessly to help maintain this beautiful urban park. The Delapre project has been run for many years and is currently led by staff member Gavin Stafford and a team of eight volunteers.
They are a hardy bunch who for three days a week are out in all weather working away to ensure the gardens are kept to a high standard. This was recognised last year by achieving the highest award, a level 5, in Britain’s in bloom as well as a gold award in Northampton’s in bloom. As well as the gardens themselves the group also use the heritage greenhouses to grow a variety of produce which, when in season, can often be purchased for a donation from our cart by the vegetable patch in the walled garden. They are also working closely with the Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust at the newly restored Abbey to provide fresh produce for use in the Orangery Café. The money is reinvested into the project.
Our work is not restricted to the walled garden. The volunteers will litter pick in the park and surrounding areas, work on tree maintenance and other works in the grounds including turning all green waste into compost which is then put back into the beds and borders at the abbey.
The project brings real impact to Delapre and is a valuable asset to the Abbey.
Visitor Experience Manager Vikki Pearson said “The work they do helps create a welcoming environment for all visitors to the newly restored Abbey and they are a welcome part of the huge Delapre Abbey Preservation Trust volunteer team that enables this beautiful place to be enjoyed by so many people.” In turn our volunteers learn so many new skills and over time have developed into an accomplished horticulture team. If you are ever passing please stop by and talk to the volunteers. They are a friendly and justifiably proud bunch who love what they do.