Stowmarket Library officially opened its newly transformed community garden space this weekend.
The ‘Stitching Stowe’ project has been funded by Arts Council England, with the name inspired by the binding of a book. Fox Yard Studio and Modece Architects were commissioned by Suffolk Libraries to work with the local community to transform the library’s courtyard into a space for everyone to enjoy.
The new vibrant garden space includes a new brightly coloured crazy paving, a conceptual map of Stowmarket, brightly painted windows and a series of murals and works of art depicting the history and stories of Stowmarket. The murals weave together tales celebrating Stowmarket’s past, present and future, all inspired by the stories of local people who gathered at a special community event earlier in the summer.
The garden has been made more accessible for disabled people to enjoy. New wildlife friendly plants and bulbs have also been planted and bird boxes and bug hotels will be installed by young people from Thrive to encourage local wildlife. The new garden has been created with a sustainability theme with materials being reused or recycled where possible.
The project has been led by Summer Lambert, Library and Information Advisor at Stowmarket Library, with support from Suffolk Libraries’ Arts Team. Summer said:
“We’re all thrilled and amazed at how the garden looks now. It has been a real community success with local people and organisations coming together to create something special which we can all enjoy throughout the year.
We’re really grateful to Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Council and Arts Council England for their support and for all the other local organisations involved including Fox Yard Studio, Modece Architects, Red Gables and Thrive.”
The garden had previously been an unused space and the vision was to transform it into a place for the whole community to enjoy, as well as a place where library activities can take place.
The launch event was part of the Stowmarket Time Machine event and featured talks by local children’s author and comedian James Campbell and Stowmarket Bells. Over 200 hundred people came along to view the new garden on the day.
Suffolk Libraries’ Arts Programme will also be helping other libraries in the county to develop their library spaces next year.