School children help turn St Mary’s churchyard into a green oasis

Published on 17th October 2013

St Mary's Church

A fundraising campaign is underway to transform St Mary’s churchyard into a town centre green oasis.

Around £250,000 will be needed for the scheme which includes seating, performance space, art projects and restoration of stone and metal work.  The project will be carried out in stages over the next couple of years.

To kick-start the project, a £250 grant has been donated by Cheltenham Borough Council’s ‘Community Pride Fund’. The money has bought 3,500 spring and autumn bulbs which will be planted by local residents, volunteers and children from Dunalley School on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 October, between 1-4pm.

Representatives from Cheltenham Borough Council, who are responsible for the upkeep of the churchyard, will also be there to lend a hand

The project involves a number of organisations, local residents and local businesses who have all come together to make it happen. Cheltenham Town Centre Neighbourhood Coordination Group has been working with Friends of St Mary’s Minster and Cheltenham Development Task Force to develop plans for the churchyard. These plans were displayed at an event in the churchyard back in August, receiving very positive feedback.

Bernice Thomson, Manager of Cheltenham West End Partnership, which coordinates the action group said: “This is the first of many opportunities for Cheltenham people to get involved in this exciting project, which will see the churchyard transformed over the next couple of years.  We would welcome anyone who would like to help with the planting to get in touch or turn up on either Monday or Tuesday between 1 - 4pm.”

Leader of the council, Steve Jordan, said, “With Cheltenham’s new art gallery and museum, The Wilson, opening nearby and the plans for The Brewery – Phase II, this will all help to improve and transform the lower high street and St Mary’s. I’m so pleased that the Community Pride Fund has been able to contribute to the project and it’s great that the younger generation will play a part in making it happen.”

For further information, or to volunteer to help, contact Bernice Thomson on 01242 692112, email


Cheltenham West End Partnership is a not for profit organisation whose aim is to enable, develop and run projects, events and activities that improve the lives of people living and working in St Peters, St Pauls and the town centre. They do this by working with residents, businesses and other voluntary or public sector organisations.  

To arrange a photo opportunity, please contact Bernice Thomson on 01242 692112, email