Forever Manchester’s Community Builders have revisited some of the communities where seeds were sown as part of the ‘Manchester Sea of Sunflowers’ initiative to find out how it had a flourishing impact.

During Spring 2021, our Community Builders Lisa Kershaw and Vikki Snowden visited various sites around the communities of Ardwick and Wythenshawe meeting people face-to-face and giving out packs of sunflower seeds to local people. This allowed them to reconnect with a few old friends while making lots of fantastic new friends in the process!

Our Community Building Team work out and about in communities, starting conversations with the people they meet. They find out what people are passionate about, and connect them to like minded neighbours, encouraging them to engage in or set up their own community activities.

The Manchester Sea of Sunflowers initiative was the Community Builders first foray back into the outside world, and was a breath of fresh air for Lisa, Vikki and the community alike following the various restraints of the Covid-19 pandemic. They distributed more than 500 packs of seeds to local people which really helped in bringing some positivity and spreading a little joy to the areas where our community builders work.

Lisa and Vikki have recently revisited some of the places where the seeds were sown and caught up with residents to see how the sunflowers have had a flourishing impact.

The residents of Barbara Castle Court in Grove Village, Ardwick collectively planted their seeds at the front of their properties as well as on whatever spare piece of ground they could find. They told us that it had really lifted their spirits as it had been such a long time since they had all done something together as a community.

Another Ardwick resident said, “I am not normally very good at growing plants so I am chuffed, my sunflowers have come along nicely.

Members of Hartfield Close Allotments in Ardwick said, “We planted as many as we could around the allotment for everyone to see, as we are right in the heart of the community. The sunflowers have been a visual delight for everyone to enjoy and also brought a huge number of our best friends (worker bees) to our allotment and orchard. The environmental benefits have been wonderful.

An Ardwick resident who grew a sunflower on their balcony said, “It’s been a grey past year or so and they really brought some colour and sunshine to the area. It’s also been really nice walking round, seeing them grow and standing tall. New beginnings isn’t it?

In Wythenshawe, a lady shared packs of sunflowers with her neighbours as gifts, as well as planting seeds in the grounds of the local community centre, helping to spread some joy and colour with the rest of her community.

The Butterflies Bereavement Group in Ardwick organised a friendly competition with individuals growing their own Sunflowers and then measuring them each week to monitor progress.

Another local woman proudly posted pictures of the beautiful flowers she had grown, excitedly sharing the fact that they were attracting bees, which doesn’t normally happen as her garden area is paved. She also loved the fact that the bees were finally coming to say hi!

People in our local communities clearly loved the idea of helping to create a sea of sunflowers just as much as Lisa and Vikki did!

Date added: 1st October 2021