Raising the roof – how you can help restore Alexandra Park’s 1930s greenhouse to is former glory

Volunteers are counting on the public to help them fulfil their dreams for a community project that is blossoming.

Let’s Raise the Roof is a month-long crowdfunding campaign to help put a permanent roof on the greenhouse in Alexandra Park, that kicked off on Monday with an appeal to supporters to raise at least £10,000 towards work to complete the project.

Open for the sale of plants every week.

Originally, volunteers had the task of raising £200,000 to fully restore the 1930s greenhouse which they took over in 2013. Now a generous, private donation has been pledged to cover the restoration of the teak frame and replacement glazing bars.

The funds will also pay for toughened glass in the roof’s upper and lower ventilation windows and gable ends, plus repairs to the cast iron ventilation system, downpipes and internal staging.

Money raised by the Crowdfunding appeal will provide lighting and power so that the greenhouse can be open all year, will see re-pointing of ageing brickwork, and construction of a perimeter fence with an emergency gate, improvements to the floor and interior will also be carried out.

Donors of more than £20 will receive a cotton bag and an invitation to a thank-you party in the park when the restoration has started and Covid-19 guidance allows.

Linda Pearson, chairman of the Alexandra Park Greenhouse Group, said: “The greenhouse is becoming very vulnerable as 30 years without glazing has taken its toll, but it has not given up yet and neither have we!

“To continue to breathe life into the greenhouse, we need the support of the people of Hastings, St Leonards and beyond. A bare structure can’t fulfil its potential to provide benefit to the community. Please help us to complete the transformation.”

The group, which became a charity in 2018, has been given donations amounting to £25,000 to date from many local organisations and this has paid for the 100ft structure to be made temporarily watertight.

The group’s Chairman Linda Pearson – watch the fundraising video by clicking the link above.

The upper ventilation system has been restored, electricity has been brought to the site and its brick cold frame has been replaced. This has allowed volunteers to cultivate plants to sell at their weekly Saturday and Wednesday gardening sessions, providing a small but regular income.

Linda added: “Without major financial input, structural work can go no further; restoration is essential for it’s future to blossom.”

The space has already hosted various groups, including the Education Futures Trust, an early learning group; East Coast College assisted education students who established vegetable and herb growing areas, pupils from Sacred Heart School who studied the greenhouse’s carnivorous plant collection, and Halloween events.

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