Reading community garden hunt for new home amid regeneration

  • Watch the full report by ITV Meridian's Mel Bloor

A community garden in the centre of Reading is on the look out for a new home as plans progress to regenerate the area.

Lavender Place, which is run by the charity Food4Families, is currently based on the former Civic Centre site but has been told it will need to relocate by the summer.

It's a low-carbon community garden designed to showcase sustainable food growing and improve health and wellbeing.

Volunteers who work there, produce fruit, vegetables and herbs for a range of community groups.

Emily Aldridge, garden volunteer said: "We grow food to help people who need it in Reading, so we learn lots of horticultural skills and we give back our time. It's a really nice activity and is very diverse and very interactive with lots of interesting people."

Sam Hatfield, garden volunteer said: "We learn basically how to grow plants from scratch from seed so we learn how to sow the seeds and it's really interesting as we get to grow things you can't even buy in most shops, various rare heritage vegetables for example."

Lavender Place is based on the former Civic Centre site but has been told it will need to relocate Credit: ITV Meridian

The charity, Food4Families, is hoping to keep the new garden, which it says is a "real beacon" close to the centre of the town.

Dave Richards, Food4Families said: "Our vision is to really take this forward. At a time when the town is really expanding, there are so many new regeneration projects, so much new build, that we need an antidote to a concrete jungle. We need to create a Reading town centre that people want to live in where people have the opportunity to get out, to have green space."

Although the groundwork for the redevelopment is due to begin in July, Reading Borough Council said it's aware of the benefits the garden and is committed to exploring options for an alternative site in the town centre.