JQBID unveils first phase of brand new grant-funded eco garden project

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The first phase of a brand-new eco-garden has been unveiled at the Jewellery Quarter Railway Station by the Jewellery Quarter Business District (JQBID) funded by a community grant from West Midlands Railway (WMR).  The green installation is set to breathe new life into the railway station and will be tended to by a team of volunteers working with the area’s Business Improvement District (BID).

L-R: Gaynor Steele, Steve Lovell, Fay Easton, David Wisehall
L-R: Gaynor Steele, Steve Lovell, Fay Easton, David Wisehall

Having welcomed over 500,000 visitors within the past 12 months, the Jewellery Quarter Railway Station is one of Birmingham’s busiest inner-city stations and an integral part of the local neighbourhood. The station is now home to an extensive array of hand-selected blooms and shrubbery that bring greenery to the urban surroundings.

The first phase of the community scheme, entitled ‘Greening a Grey Station’, has seen the introduction of twelve 2-metre-long planters throughout the station which feature built-in reservoirs to maintain regular watering supply. Designed and arranged by lead gardener Gaynor Steele, planting will be refreshed on a seasonal basis with carefully selected blooms to ensure year-round greenery.

Commenting on the launch of the eco-garden, Head of Stakeholder and Community at West Midlands Railway, Fay Easton, said:

The Customer & Communities Fund was designed to bring life to community projects that would benefit our customers and we are so pleased to see this installation ‘greening the grey’ in an inner-city environment.  It’s been a pleasure to work with the volunteers at Jewellery Quarter and to see the lead gardener’s superb designs come to glorious life.  Along with the dedicated Station Manager, we’re looking forward to seeing the final phase of the project ‘blossom’ over the next few weeks

With recent studies highlighting the benefits of foliage and planting to improving air quality as well as boosting mental health and wellbeing, it is hoped that the eco-garden will benefit both local residents as well as visitors to the Jewellery Quarter. Local volunteers will also be given the opportunity to work alongside the JQBID to help water and cultivate the plants and to have a say in its next stages of development.

Jewellery Quarter station planters
There are a mix of corten steel and wooden planters on both station platforms

Communications and Marketing Manager for the JQBID, Steve Lovell, adds:

We’re delighted to be finally unveiling our brand-new eco-garden within the Jewellery Quarter Railway Station! By providing colourful and accessible spaces for passengers to relax and learn about the Quarter in between their commutes and rail journeys, we hope that this will improve the overall wellbeing of residents and visitors alike.

 As well as supporting our plans to increase the number of green spaces within the local area for the benefit of the environment, we’re confident that this new project will also continue to cement the Quarter’s reputation as a must-see part of Birmingham.

Alongside the eco-garden project, the JQBID has also been working with local artists Barbara Gibson and Marta Kochanek, as well as students from the School of Jewellery, to develop an art mural along one of the station’s platforms. The JQBID is also set to collaborate with the wider Jewellery Quarter Development Trust (JQDT) through the likes of the JQTH project and JQ Cemeteries Project, as well as other local artists to develop further pieces.

In recent years, the JQDT has secured over £2m in grant funding to maintain and futureproof the Quarter’s heritage; benefitting projects such as the restoration of the Chamberlain Clock and the Argent Centre, as well as partnering with other bodies to secure a further £2m for its cemeteries.

To register your interest in maintaining the eco-garden as a volunteer, please email info@jqdt.org

To learn more about the JQBID and its work, visit: https://jewelleryquarter.net/

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