TO THE CALLISTER GARDEN
Who We Are and What We Do
The Callister Trust is a charity, established in 1925, promoting the welfare of girls and young women in Birkenhead. The green space it owns, found behind a high Victorian Wall on Slatey Road, has been used over the past nearly a hundred years as a place for sport and leisure activities for girls, a playing field and as a garden to teach apprentices. When the apprenticeship scheme came to an end, the space was boarded up and left to its own devices for over 10 years, until the charity was given into the care of new trustees in 201 8.
The first practical task that fell to the trustees was to have a new gate fitted to facilitate access and to announce to people nearby that the garden was coming back to life. A team of volunteers has worked tirelessly since then to clear the garden gradually revealing original borders, beds, and an assortment of paths.
By Autumn 2019 enough was cleared to welcome 200 visitors for the Heritage Open Weekend. As Spring 202 1 approached the more overgrown areas at the back of the garden were emerging. These cleared areas can now be declared part of a garden, though in its infancy, with a standard lawn, a wildflower 'meadow', a vegetable garden, impromptu vegetable planters and a greenhouse. We also have a nursery orchard, a willow tunnel, bug house and campfire den all surrounded by both evergreens and a range of beautiful birch trees. More formal flower beds, interspersed with a fabulous range of hebes, are overlooked by the most magnificent of eucalyptus trees. There are lime trees and a selection of mature fig trees that trail along a wall where we have a burgeoning sensory garden.
The pond has been re-lined and is already rewilding and two cleared areas are designated for use by a girls' gardening club to be established for local young people. The garden has already offered Forest Schools workshops in partnership with GROW Wellbeing ac and is part of a project working with refugees. This has enabled local refugees and asylum seekers to work alongside volunteers in the Garden as well as attending gardening classes. The Callister Garden has also hosted six
Women's Wellbeing Days which have been much appreciated by all the participants. Over 250, mainly young people, attended events during the school summer holidays this year.
Finally, an area to one side of the garden, historically home to a pavilion at the side of a tennis court, will now become home to a new sustainable Pavilion which will enable the garden to be used all year round and will sit perfectly within the garden's serene and secluded atmosphere. The planning and the early design of the 'Pavilion' was part of a collaboration with students and staff from Liverpool John Moores University. Having recently been granted planning permission, the Callister trustees are embarking on a fundraising programme to bring the plans to fruition.
We are always looking for ways that the local community can get involved with us, so we would be very grateful if you could please follow us on social media, email us to volunteer in the garden, or donate to our garden pavilion fundraising.