The Friends of Wolverhampton Art Gallery have secured investment to enhance and maintain the community garden at Bilston Craft Gallery.

The project has been funded by Biffa Award, a multi million pound fund that helps to build communities and transform lives through awarding grants to community and environmental projects across the UK.

The grant of £9,000 will enable Bilston Craft Gallery to carry out improvements and develop the volunteer gardening group that looks after the garden. The Gallery's neighbours, the Bilston Churchill Conservative Club, generously provided a crucial third party contribution.

The Bilston Craft Gallery community garden is a large green space with mature trees and informal cottage garden style planting. It is the setting for the Gallery's regular family fun days and is used throughout the year by families and local residents having a picnic lunch or seeking a quiet place to enjoy the outdoors.

The garden is largely maintained by volunteers and stocked using plant cuttings and donations. For the past 4 years, the Gallery has been part of the local Bilston in Bloom campaign, which works to improve green spaces in the town and has just been awarded Gold standard in 2013, following Silver-Gilt awards in 2012 and 2011.

Cheryl Welsh, Bilston Town Centre Manager, said: "The funding from Biffa Award is recognition of how we are working really hard in Bilston to make our local green spaces better and more accessible for local people and involve residents in their town environment. The Gallery has been a key part of Bilston in Bloom and we can't wait to see the improvements."

The Biffa Award grant will enable repair of a broken down historic stone wall between the Gallery and the Conservative Club by a stonemason. The funding will also support additional seating and signage about the garden and a programme of training and support for the local volunteers who work hard to keep the garden well-groomed and flourishing.

The Gallery always welcomes new volunteers so anyone who is interested in getting involved with the garden or another part of the Gallery's work is invited to get in touch on 01902 552507 or email

Sophie Heath, Curator of Bilston Craft Gallery, said: "We are delighted that we can undertake these vital repairs and improvements to the garden which provides a safe green space for local people of all ages, making it an even better community space. It's also wonderful to be able to give something back and support the volunteers whose hard work and dedication keep the garden beautiful."

Bilston Craft Gallery is part of WAVE, the museums, galleries and archives of Wolverhampton, and shares historic, locally listed premises with Bilston Library on Mount Pleasant. The Gallery has displays showing the rich heritage of manufacture across the Black Country, including the world famous 18th century Bilston enamels. There are also changing exhibitions of contemporary craft and hands on workshops for children and adults.

For more information, please visit Type=links;Linkid=2106;Title=Museums, Galleries and Archives of Wolverhampton;Target=_blank;; admission is free.

  • released: Friday 20 September, 2013