In Woodham near West Byfleet a remarkable project for the future benefit of the community has begun, the initiative of Ronnie and Christine Kendall.
For years Ronnie drove past dilapidated farm buildings on part of what is an 8 acre site. Five years ago, he and his wife decided something of use could be created there. They founded a charity, assembling a talented group of trustees and nature enthusiasts. Planning began as to how best to preserve the wilderness and the biodiversity, while creating a place accessible and available to all. The two buildings will be restored to provide a Men’s Shed for woodwork, metalwork and mechanical projects. The Barn will be turned into a number of rooms for arts and crafts, wellbeing, community welfare, and a café. Close by, there will be a learning centre with live wildlife camera feeds and environmental studies will be undertaken.
A large field will become an allotment and grassland will be converted into wildflower meadows, a location where the natural habitat can flourish. A pond will be created, an apiary and nature trails. There are some rare trees nearby and the River Bourne borders part of the land.
Ronnie and Christine are demonstrating just what can be achieved with foresight, initiative, persuasiveness, and persistence. Their enthusiasm, coupled with that of the trustees – one of whom, Giles Verity DL, the High Sheriff and his wife met on their visit on 15th September – has brought much support from Surrey County Council, Runnymede Borough Council, companies and others. Projects such as these are much needed. The required work is being carried out through Surrey Choices, with a team led by Mark Evenden. The High Sheriff talked to some of them, and was interviewed for their radio station. He was also introduced to men from Murphys, specialist drain contractors, who were generously donating their services.
When all is finished, this will indeed be a valuable community hub. Well done Ronnie and Christine, and all who are helping them. May you receive all the backing and donations you require.