Wareham's Tree of Life and Laughter Community Garden Project 2015 to 2017

Update 2017

  Read more here

Redcliffe Path Wins Award

The recently redeveloped Redcliffe riverside path, with its latest additions of three excellent interpretation boards, has won ‘Best Small Conservation Area: Britain in Bloom 2014’.

The first phase of the Trust’s project, the complete redevelopment of the path itself, was completed in the spring of 2013, but almost lost in the winter storms when the flood bank was badly eroded by exceptional flooding and severe gales. Only the hard work of the Trust and its volunteers saved the path and flood bank from total destruction.

The second phase, the installation of three information boards, was completed in early summer 2014, just in time to form part of the ‘Wareham in Bloom’ entry into Britain in Bloom. A more robust flood bank repair was completed by the Environment Agency in the autumn of 2014.

The photograph shows John Scott, Development Manager of the Trust, receiving the award from the Town Mayor of Wareham, Councillor Mrs Carol Turner, at a special ceremony in the Town Hall on 31st October 2014.

John Scott, Development Manager

Wareham & District Development Trust

01929 554236 john@wddt.org.uk

The Trust’s geographic area includes most of the communities in the Purbeck district of Dorset, with the exception of Lytchett Minster, Upton, Swanage and the parishes between Studland and Worth Matravers. Click on the map to see the area in more detail.


WDDT Area Map

Click map to enlarge


If you're not familiar with this beautiful part of Dorset, and want to know more about the area, click here.




Update 27th June 2017

The new Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden has at long last burst into blooming colour with the addition of hundreds of plants and shrubs. These delightful flower beds will now give years of enjoyment to all those that visit the garden, and the huge flat paved area will make an ideal community display and exhibition space.

All that is now left to do is for the children of St Mary's Primary School to add their plants to their specially prepared flower bed, and for the displaying of the Roman villa threshold remains to be completed.

Once everything is done and in place there will be a long awaited 'grand opening', so watch this space.


John Scott, Development Manager, WDDT
01929 554236 john@wddt.org.uk www.wddt.org.uk www.thewarehambears.co.uk


Update 11th May 2017

Good News . . . Work has begun

The creation of the Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden is now well underway with work beginning in earnest on Monday 8th May, and with the aim of completion before 27th May, the beginning of Purbeck Art Weeks

1,606 thank you’s

The community’s dream of creating the Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden, to the rear of Wareham Library, has come one step closer thanks to the generosity of the Wareham Coop Local Community Fund and its customers.

Over the past six months they have been donating 1% of all that they have spent on Cooperative own-brand products which has resulted in a total of almost £5,000. This has been divided between three local good causes of which the community garden project has received £1,606

This now means that the funding target for the project has been reached and work can begin. ‘It is our aim to have the work completed before the launch of Purbeck Art Weeks on 27th May as that is when local school children and Purbeck Centre students will be using the garden to display a wide range of clay creatures, birds, plants and flowers, that they have created to decorate the garden,’ says John Scott, Development Manager, Wareham & District Development Trust, and leading the project in partnership with several local community groups and organisations. ‘The Tree of Life & Laughter Garden is truly a community project and will result in the once neglected space being used as a garden and community exhibition space by one and all for many years to come.’

John Scott
Development Manager, Wareham & District Development Trust
Rempstone Estate Office, Cow Lane, Wareham BH20 4RD
Tel: 01929 554236 or 07971 029940
john@wddt.org.uk  www.wddt.org.uk www.thewarehambears.co.uk

Attached photograph shows, from left to right,
Matthew Sibley, Manager, Wareham Cooperative Store
John Scott, Development Manager, WDDT
Heather Scharnhorst, Wareham Cooperative Store


Update 10th November 2016

Another Dream Becomes Reality

Since 2002 the Wareham & District Development Trust has been turning the dreams and aspirations of our community into reality, and this year will be no exception.

Thanks to a fund-raising concert featuring local A’Capella Quartet No Direction, which raised £278 after costs, work on the Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden will soon begin. Although £278 does not sound a lot, when added to all the other kind donations from the community of Purbeck, and other funders, it now means that there is enough in the ‘plant pot’ for work to begin towards the end of this year, and be completed by next Easter. Having said that a further £5,000 is still needed for garden furniture, pots and planters.

‘Our latest fund-raising effort, one of many, highlights the support shown for the project by the community to create their own town centre garden’, says John Scott, Development Manager, and leader of the project. ‘In the case of the No Direction Concert we would like to thank our sponsors, Cumulus Outdoors and Albert Marsh Funeral Directors, Horsey’s for selling the tickets, Sainsbury’s for supplying the tea & coffee, and the ladies of Stoborough WI for their delicious cakes, but most of all the audience who made the evening the success that it was.’

Update 12th May 2016

Bucknowle Roman villa threshold stones

Sharing Heritage: Local Charity celebrates £5,600 Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Wareham & District Development Trust has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant, it was announced today. This exciting project, to enhance and improve the interpretation to the general public of the Roman threshold remains within the Wareham library garden, and led by the Trust, has been given £5,600 to tell the story of the remains and of the part played by the Romans in our social history during their occupation of Purbeck.

Since it’s formation in 2002 the Trust has been turning the dreams and aspirations of the community into reality. The current dream is to totally redevelop the neglected space to the rear of Wareham library and create the Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden, not just a garden but a green space, conservation area, as well as an open air venue for exhibitions and displays, and the improved interpretation of the threshold stones forms a small but important part of this bigger project.

The stones, originally from the Bucknowle Roman villa excavation near Corfe Castle, were donated to the Library in the 1970’s, and have sat almost forgotten within the garden ever since. The Sharing Heritage grant will allow for the installation of a 2m square trompe l’oeil behind the stones to represent the view from one room to the other within the Roman villa as it would have been. An interpretation board will be erected alongside telling the story of the villa and of the Roman occupation of the area, and an information leaflet will be printed and a web site created.

Commenting on the award, John Scott, Development Manager, Wareham & District Development Trust, said ‘It is great news that we have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started. We all love where we live and know that there is so much history surrounding us, and much more to discover about our past. We are all really excited about telling other people the story of the stones, and the Romans in Purbeck, and sharing our heritage and history with them.’

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said “Thanks to National Lottery players, the Romano-British remains at Wareham Library will be relocated to enhance understanding and appreciation of the threshold. In doing so, Wareham & District Development Trust will bring the community together through volunteering opportunities and exciting community events.”

Latest Update 23rd April 2016

Work starts soon on Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden in Wareham thanks to Tesco’s Bags of Help campaign

The Wareham & District Development Trust will soon start work on its Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden project in Wareham following its successful receipt of £8,000 from Tesco’s Bags of Help campaign.

The supermarket teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative, which saw grants of £12,000, £10,000 and £8,000 – all raised from the 5p bag levy – being awarded to environmental and greenspace projects.

Eight million shoppers voted in stores up and down the country.

The project in Wareham is to convert an area of neglected space to the rear of the town’s Library into a community garden, green space, and at times open air exhibition and entertainment area. A totally flexible space to be used by community groups, organisations and individuals, as well as the thousands of people who already use the Library and Discover Purbeck Information Centre situated within the Library.

John Scott, Development Manager, Wareham & District Development Trust, and the person leading the project said: ‘The community and all the organisations involved in the project have been raisng the funding required for some time now and the £8,000 donated by Tesco through their Bags of Help programme will go a long way to achieving our target.’

Caroline Silke, Head of Community at Tesco, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response of our customers and the feedback has been brilliant.

“This is the really exciting part of the project – seeing the projects coming to life thanks to the funding and we can’t wait to follow the projects right through to the end.
“Applications for the next round of the initiative will open from 18 April to 3 June and we look forward to helping a further round of groups and projects bag their share of the bag charge fund.”

Voting ran in store from 27 February until 6 March – with customers choosing which group they’d like to get the top award using a token given to them at the check-out in store.
Applications for the next round of Bags of Help funding will open from 18 April to 3 June. As well as applying direct, suggestions for projects can also be nominated all year around by people living locally.


Latest Update 12th April 2016

Wareham's Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden has been awarded £8,000 through the Tesco Bags of Help funding programme.

A big thank you to all those that voted for the project in their local Tesco store. More news to follow soon. The Roman villa threshold stones enhancement, within the Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden, has also been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

More news to follow soon.

We are still some way off our target and so if you know of any individual or organisation that would like to support our project then please get in touch with John Scott, Development Manager, Wareham & District Development Trust 01929 554236 john@wddt.org.uk


Wareham’s 'Tree of Life & Laughter Community Garden' Redevelopment Project Receives a Wessex Watermark Award

PHOTO: from left to right: Philip Daubeny, Chair, Wareham & District Development Trust
Lorrain Puckett, Wareham Library Manager
Gerald Bradford, Wessex Water’s Asset Planning Manager, based at Corfe Mullen
John Scott, Development Manager, Wareham & District Development Trust
Cllr Eric Osmond, Wareham Town Council and Wareham in Bloom

Wareham & District Development Trust (WDDT) have received a £750 Watermark Award to help bring Wareham library’s walled garden back to life. John Scott the Trust’s Development Manager will receive the Award on behalf of WDDT from Wessex Water’s Gerald Bradford on Monday 18th January.

The garden contains the remains of a Roman threshold which came from a local Roman villa excavated at Corfe in the 1970’s and donated to the Library. The Trust’s Watermark Award will enable WDDT to set up an information board to illustrate the historical context of the Roman threshold and the villa it came from.

“At the moment this important piece of our social heritage is a pile of stones on the ground” John said. “It is our intention to move the threshold to the south west corner of the garden and place behind it a 2.2m x 2.2m ‘trompe-l’oeil’ creating a representation of the view through the doorway into the furnace room of the villa as it once was.”

Although the garden is accessible to the general public it’s lack of appeal means that it is only used by a handful of people each week, whereas the Library itself, and the Discover Purbeck Information Centre who share the building, have a combined footfall of over 100,000 people per year.

WDDT has been given a twenty year lease by Dorset County Council who owns the land, and during that time the Trust will convert the garden into a more vibrant, usable and far more welcoming space. WDDT has the full support of Dorset County Museum, Dorset County Council and Wareham Archaeology Society and is delighted to have this recognition from Wessex Water”

John added: “The walled garden is rarely used, and yet it has great potential to be a wonderful addition to the town. All those involved in the project would like the area to be used as both a tranquil green space and a place for local organisations to use for events, exhibitions and even parties”.

The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area. Now in its twentieth year, it has supported over 900 environmental initiatives. Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its President - David Bellamy.



Developing Sustainable Projects   |   Involving Communities   |   Improving the Natural Environment   |   Working in Partnership

All rights reserved ©2002 - 2016 Wareham & District Development Trust         site design www.art-studio-36.com