Big plans ahead for the Green Backyard

Alun Williams and Melanie Addison host their wedding reception at the Green Back Yard, where they met as volunteers. Pictured with bridesmaids Rhiannon Blackshaw, Kate Blackshaw, Emma Smolnikova, Ebony Quow, Esther Jeffers. ENGEMN00120120408203058
Alun Williams and Melanie Addison host their wedding reception at the Green Back Yard, where they met as volunteers. Pictured with bridesmaids Rhiannon Blackshaw, Kate Blackshaw, Emma Smolnikova, Ebony Quow, Esther Jeffers. ENGEMN00120120408203058
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A thriving Green Backyard is looking to have its own stall at Peterborough City Market and regularly host weddings.

The popular community growing project on the corner of London Road and Oundle Road has developed considerably since it signed a 12-year lease to buy the land from the city council last October, securing £73,500 in grant funding and improving the appearance of the site.

Re-launch of the new Green Back Yard produce shop -  Danette O'Hara and Sophie Antonelli with MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya EMN-180505-175205009

Re-launch of the new Green Back Yard produce shop - Danette O'Hara and Sophie Antonelli with MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya EMN-180505-175205009

And further exciting plans were revealed at the council’s cabinet meeting on Monday which include expanding the food offering and providing more opportunities for residents to have their wedding reception in the wonderful green setting, like Alun and Melanie Williams did in 2012.

Responding to a question from Cllr Steve Allen who said the Green Backyard should set up at the city market as “we want to eat our greens,” the council’s head of culture and leisure Lisa Roberts said such a move was already part of the project’s commercial plan.

Wedding receptions were also discussed at the meeting, with cabinet member for growth, planning, housing and environment development Cllr Peter Hiller enquiring: “If I was getting married again, why would I want my wedding reception at the Green Backyard?”

Ms Roberts, who is a trustee at the Green Backyard, replied: “In the wedding market people are looking for a unique experience. The Green Backyard can offer that.

Re-launch of the new Green Back Yard produce shop -  looking at some of the plants for sale -  Robbie Stainton, Pru Kerr, Dan Kerr, Sarah Middleton and Barbara Stainton EMN-180505-175216009

Re-launch of the new Green Back Yard produce shop - looking at some of the plants for sale - Robbie Stainton, Pru Kerr, Dan Kerr, Sarah Middleton and Barbara Stainton EMN-180505-175216009

“It’s about flexibility and an opportunity to meet a client and really tailor that experience for them to make sure it’s a wonderful day.”

Cabinet member for communities Cllr Irene Walsh hailed the site’s “transformation” since the lease was signed, adding: “I can confidently say the Green Backyard project has so far risen to the challenge and I’m sure we will see much more progress in the future.”

Following the meeting Green Backyard co-founder Sophie Antonelli highlighted some of the many changes which have taken place at the site. These include:

. An accessible composting toilet, raised beds and an accessible path thanks to funding from brain injury charity Headway.

. Amey finishing the car park which will be easier to use in the winter and spring.

. Work starting on a cutting garden and small market garden which will lead to flowers and produce being sold.

. Running garden-related courses.

Moreover, ethical shop Backyard Food has been re-launched with visitors offered the chance to avoid single use plastics, while Sophie confirmed a market stall is in the pipeline. She added: “Naturally we’re also thinking about the future. We’ve already hosted three wedding receptions at the Green Backyard, but in the future we’d like this to be something we can offer to other local couples.”