Tunnels vision – ECO Centre takes root on former bowling green

A ONCE derelict bowling green has been transformed into a grow your own vegetable garden and community hub to encourage more people to sample the good life.


Alan Price, Get Oldham Growing, Cllr Shadab Qumer, Euey Madden, OMBC Greenspace Manager

The woods last trundled across Lees Park on Kingsley Avenue in Lees more than a decade ago.

Now, as part of the Get Oldham Growing project, new life has been breathed into the green but once vandalised space.

There are three large growing beds, poly tunnels and a renovated and adaptable site building to be used as community café, indoor classroom and meeting base.

Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, and Cllr Shadab Qumer, the Mayor of Oldham, were among guests at the official opening of the Lees Park ECO Centre.


Lees Eco Park

They were joined by groups representing She Sheds, who produced 20 bird boxes for the new centre, Men in Sheds, Veg in the Park community growing hub at Waterhead Park and the Real Junk Food Project Oldham.

For co-ordinator, Alan Price, the Centre is the conclusion of a near two decade mission.

“It is a vision we had over 18 years ago as part of the Local Agenda 21 initiative where we were developing a sustainable strategy for the borough,” he told the Independent.

“Eighteen years later we have at last got our sustainability centre.

“The motto is ‘from plant to plate,’ added Alan.


Maureen Lees, treasurer, and Caroline Lawson, chair of Veg in the Park

“People can come here and we can teach them how to grow their own vegetables and then how to cook them efficiently and nutritiously so they have a nice balance of life.

“Some people don’t have their own gardens so they can come here and we can give them the confidence to grow their own.

“The E in ECO stands for the environment – enhancing the wildlife to maximise the potential for wildlife.

“C is for community – we have something for everyone whether you want to just come in for a brew and a natter or to progress their skills for a healthier lifestyle.

“And O is for opportunity which this new Centre provides.

“The centre will also be used to educate residents on all aspects of sustainable living, the environment, wildlife, energy efficiency, renewable energy and water management.”

Shirley McGrady, Leyla McGrady, Daisy Cowley, Tracey Cowley, Real Junk Food Oldham Project
She Sheds Cllr Barbara Beeley and Pam Sheerin
Dave Freear Men in Shed co-ordinator

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