Customers, community groups and colleagues, have recently been involved in community planting projects in Derbyshire.

Earlier this year we spoke to customers in the village of Crich to understand how they’d like nearby green spaces to be used. While some told us they only currently use the spaces for walking through, many had ideas of how they could change.

The common theme from customers was for the spaces to be used for wildlife and generally tidied and made to look nicer. We asked them their thoughts on us planting new shrubs, fruit trees or wildflowers in these spaces and the majority had no concerns about us doing this and gave lots of positive comments. This included one resident who said, “I would love to see flowers on the banks” and another added, “It would be a good idea and will look nice.”

To bring the project to life, we started working with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and Transition Crich, a community group made up of local residents who strive to make the village a more sustainable and environmentally friendly place to live and work. 

On the day, several members of Transition Crich joined our grounds maintenance team as they removed part of a grass verge and created a garden bed filled with plants and shrubs. Some of the flowers are sedum and geraniums, which are both nectar-rich plants to attract bees, insects, butterflies and moths. Wildflowers were sown in another space and in a third location six apple trees were planted, which is not only friendly for wildlife, but should hopefully result in free fruit for the community in the future.

Janet Morrow, volunteer at Transition Crich said: “It’s been a pleasure working with Futures as they’ve been really positive about planting on their land in Crich. We now have apple trees, wildflowers and shrubs in three different areas. All of this helps to increase the biodiversity in Crich, so thank you to David and his grounds maintenance team.”

In Ripley, Futures also worked with community group Ripley Wildflowerers, a small group of local people concerned about the lack of wildflowers and suitable habitats for bees and insects. Ripley was one of our tree planting locations  in honour of the Queen's Green Canopy Project last year, and after working with Ripley Wildflowerers in the past, we returned just over one year on to plant more.

Peter Eley, volunteer at Ripley Wildflowerers said: “From the group's start, our biggest supporter has been Futures and we have worked together on ten of Futures’ sites. The orchard at Field Terrace was the latest addition to the improvement for wildlife, with bulb planting and a large wildflower meadow as well.

“The two Cherry trees on Cherry Tree Avenue will be a stunning addition to the entrance of the street. The residents on these streets have been enthusiastic in their support, helping us to plant the trees and bulbs and watering them since.

“We’re looking forward to adding more flowers, trees and colour on Ripley's verges this summer, with thanks to the ongoing support of Futures.”

Janene Haywood, Community Engagement Project Delivery Officer at Futures said: “It was vital that we involved customers in co-creating these projects. The areas are near their homes and we wanted to understand not only how the spaces are used but also the importance of these spaces to them. Their input has influenced changes to local areas creating better spaces for them and the environment.

“It’s been great to have the support of local community groups too and work together to create spaces for the wider community, and wildlife, to share.

"We’d love to hear from more customers and community groups who have ideas on improving green spaces, so please get in touch and share your thoughts.”

If you have an idea for improving green spaces in your community, click here to find out the different ways you can contact us.