Spirit and dedication are characteristics that have earned one local community a nomination for a Love Barrow Award. The Smeaton Street Community Garden in the heart of Barrow has been transformed beyond all recognition thanks to the hard work of residents, who have pulled together to create a safe place for children to play. Previously wasteland, neighbours identified its potential and soon got to work after the landowner kindly gave his consent to start the project, culminating in a stunning outdoor space. “We are proud to have been nominated for a Love Barrow Award,” said Alison Tooby, Project Lead of Love Barrow Families. “It is recognition of how a community can really work together to create something special, whilst having fun. “What has been achieved on Smeaton Street is truly inspirational and who would have thought that when we set out, we would have created this amazing garden.” As the country came out of the Covid-19 restrictions work got underway, with the budding Alan Titchmarsh’s helping to level and prepare for the delivery of top soil. Despite having a very small budget, turf that the Wembley groundsman would have been proud of was laid, while fences were erected, and tractor tyres were used as vegetable planters. Eye-catching plants were generously donated as well as gardening tools, which were vital in completing the work. Butterflies now flutter in the greenery and bees buzz around the pollen, making it a place for people of all ages to meet their neighbours in a safe, peaceful area. Nature has played a significant role throughout the Covid pandemic, with many people struggling with their mental health. One neighbour added: “As a community we started out as strangers and now we have become friends. “The garden has really helped my mental health and it is a place that allows the kids to play safely.” Another neighbour told us that the garden has changed the way they view their day, saying: “The garden brings joy and colour and makes my day as I come round the corner every day.” The garden encapsulates the residents’ ideas, creativity and hard work which has achieved both the wonders of the garden and the pride in the community. “We have seen an increase in community pride, a sense of belonging and neighbourlessness,” said Dean McSkimmings, Community Champion. “We started out not knowing each other, fearful of Covid – however we found something very magical in each other and a lot of kindness. “This garden is our hope and aspiration for the future.”