We are delighted to announce that The Horton has been awarded a grant of £112,000 from Your Fund Surrey (YFS)Large Community Projects Fund, towards the development of grounds that have been closed to the public for three decades.
Two years after opening the renovated building, The Horton Gardens Project will transform the site surrounding Epsom’s award-winning new arts centre, into a natural landscaped green space for everyone to enjoy.
The YFS grant follows last year’s successful bid for support from Epsom & Ewell’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Fund – and this match-funding means that the first phase of landscape works can now begin.
The Horton’s 11,000 m2 gardens are currently in a poor state, with uneven ground, collapsed disused tunnels, a tangle of brambles and weeds and a crumbling concrete ‘road to nowhere’ cutting through the site.
As well as making the grounds safe, the plan for development includes new trees around the perimeter, native planting, seating and the creation of paths, so that The Horton’s grounds can be accessed by all.
Maria Reeves, Creative Director of The Horton, said:
“It’s fantastic news that the funding from YFS will allow us to move forwards. As a charity, we are excited about the new opportunities it will bring for outdoor creative and wellbeing activities – as well as being a beautiful safe space just to sit and enjoy nature. Having the support of both Surrey County Council and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council in making this vision a reality is important, as so many people from the region will benefit.”
Councillor Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Customer and Communities, said:
“We are delighted that The Horton has been successful in their application to Your Fund Surrey’s Large Community Projects Fund for a grant of £112,594 towards the development of the grounds. Transforming the site surrounding Epsom’s arts centre into an accessible natural landscaped green space for everyone to enjoy will have huge benefits to our residents’ wellbeing and is a fine example of a community coming together to Make it Happen by bringing unused spaces back into use. The gardens will be a great addition to what is already a very special, thriving facility for the whole community. I look forward to exploring them once complete.”
The green landscape was a very important element in the ethos behind the building of Epsom’s asylums more than 100 years ago. The benefits of walking to take in the clean air were prescribed as part of the patients’ regular routines. The gardens were a source of local pride and were maintained until the closure of the hospitals in the 1990s.
Local landscape architect Sian Kelly and Guarda landscape architecture practice donated their services to The Horton in developing an exciting initial concept for a natural garden and consultation with a range of local groups and individuals has built on these ideas.
Anyone who would like to express an early interest in volunteering with tree planting or garden maintenance once the grounds are completed, or who would like to put ideas forward for the future is invited to come along to an informal meeting at The Horton on Saturday 17th February at 10.30am.
As well as contributing to the cost of works carried out by specialist contractors, funding will help to support volunteers who want to join in maintaining the garden, developing new skills and making friends. The more money raised, the better we can make use of the space in the future, such as creating a small kitchen garden and unique creative learning areas using natural resources.
We hope that some areas will be completed in time to enjoy the late summer outdoors but all works are weather-dependent and planting must be done at the right time of year.
To make a donation to The Horton Gardens Project, please visit our Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) fundraising page.
If you wish to discuss making a larger individual gift or find out about how The Horton Gardens Project could become the nominated charity for your company please contact us and a senior member of the team will be in touch.