Nottingham visual arts charity receives £107,209 grant from Severn Trent 

5th December 2022

Nottingham-based contemporary visual arts charity, Primary, has received a grant of £107,209 from Severn Trent’s Community Fund for its Primary Gardens project.

From its converted school building in Nottingham, Primary provides high quality studios for over 50 resident artists, a free programme of exhibitions and events which are open to everyone, alongside a bookshop, galleries and the award-winning Small Food Bakery.

The funding will go towards the creation of a publicly accessible, multi-use community outdoor area. This will include a garden and growing space, a sheltered outdoor workshop area, sensory garden terrace, flexible events space, and an innovative Materials Store resource to re-use and recycle materials from local arts spaces/businesses.  

The garden will provide opportunities for people to improve their physical and mental health and reduce isolation, with educational sessions to develop environmental literacy, learn about growing food and other uses of plants such as pigments and dyes.

Niki Russell, Primary, said: “We’ve seen a series of community facilities in the area close down in recent years, so there is definitely an increased need for free, accessible community spaces that local groups can use.   

We applied for support to offer our local communities a consistent and accessible place to access green space, learn about growing, share food, use a dye and pigment garden, attend creative outdoor workshops and events, and up-skill through a materials recycling project.

Our project has been developed out of our long-term work with diverse local groups including schools and youth groups, residents, and a mental health support group.”

The garden will feature a sustainable urban drainage system (SuDs), designed with the support of Nottingham Trent University’s Civll Engineering Department. The garden will include rainwater harvesting using recycled plastics and materials, a rain garden and filtration systems, with collected water recycled to irrigate the plants. 

Niki Russell continued: “By increasing the volume of growing spaces in the Primary Gardens we will increase the capacity of water retention, as the space is currently tarmac, so rainwater is lost through runoff.  Additionally, we will be considering the planting used in the new gardens to include drought resistant varieties, to reduce the water required to sustain the garden, as well as insect/wildlife beneficial plants to increase biodiversity.”

Sue Heyes, Community Fund officer at Severn Trent, said: “The panel were really impressed with Primary's plans for the redevelopment of this garden, particularly in the use of rainwater harvesting and a sustainable drainage system. The work that they will be able to deliver here will be a great benefit to the wider community and we’re looking forward to seeing the kind of tangible difference it can make to people in the area.

We are always keen to hear from groups or organisations that are seeking funding for projects that can make a real difference to their communities and we recommend that they get in touch to see if they can benefit from a share of the Community Fund.”

For more information on the Severn Trent Community Fund and to find out how to make an application visit and search for community fund.