Right in the North-Western corner of Kensington and Chelsea sits St. Francis Church – built in the 1930s for the people of the Dalgarno Estates on Dalgarno Way – who with a lot of help from local residents and a little support from City Living, Local Life have opened their Grace Garden.

With the Church revitalised from 1998 (read more about the history of the Church on their website), the Church, under the stewardship of Reverend Azariah France-Williams set about improving the building…

I remember noticing on some plans the strip of land behind the wall of the church building. The question arose ‘Could that space be ultilised?’

Before St. Francis
Taken from @stfrancisw10

The door to the patch of land behind the Church had been bricked up some years ago. But, while renovating the meeting room at the back of the Church, a new door was built to access the space once again. After years of remaining untouched there was much work to do to bring the space back to life (see right) which was undertaken a group of local people. City Living, Local Life was also on hand to provide funding to transform the space into a Grace Garden.

The answer arose with the drive of Jean and the team last summer, preparing and planting, painting and praying. The results astonish me every time I go out there.

I recently had a conversation with a member of the church who left about 10 years back. I discovered that previous teams too had also considered a garden. So the question was seeded long before this team and I’m delighted to be in the team to see it begin to bloom.

Reverend Azariah France-Williams, Priest-in-Charge

Cllr Opening
Cllr Healy (l) and Cllr Thompson (r) opening the Grace Garden

The results were brilliant, and now this oasis of calm is back in use for the community after being formally opened by the Dalgarno Councillors, Cllr Pat Healy and Cllr Robert Thompson at end of March 2015.

Transformation is beautiful and inspiring. I have seen a patch of disused, overgrown, inaccessible garden transformed into a stunning, peaceful oasis which can now be used for the benefit of the community in so many ways. 100_1106The story of the Grace Garden shows what can be achieved when we look for potential in unlikely places, harness creativity and work hard together to benefit others. I look forward to seeing children, families, teenagers and older people enjoy the garden and be inspired to seek transformation in their own lives and communities.

– Anna France-Williams

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