As the Cheshire Cat said in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice in Wonderland: “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.’’
And the Whitby in Bloom group have taken that concept to heart. The reality is that land in Cliff Street, Whitby, next to the car park and behind a store, is in urgent need of improvement. So the imagination came in when they decided to create an Alice-themed garden in the space and set about fundraising.
They were aided by £1,000 from the locality budget of North Yorkshire County Councillor Joe Plant, who represents Whitby Streonshalh. Locality budgets allow the 72 county councillors to respond to local needs and requests by recommending funding of up to £5,000 to support projects or activities that benefit the communities they represent.
In addition to the locality budget, donations from residents and businesses, grant applications and fundraising events are helping to raise the £19,465 needed for the project. Now it will be officially launched on March 6 and work will begin creating the garden, which will include large playing cards inscribed with quotes from the novel. There will also be a CCTV camera for added security.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice, visited Whitby a number of times in the 19th century.
Amanda Smith, chairman of Whitby in Bloom, said: “The Alice-themed garden in Cliff Street will transform an area that is a hotspot for anti-social behaviour into a civic asset, where visitors and residents can rest together and enjoy the view.
“This initiative will support local business by improving security, increasing local footfall and extending the time shoppers spend in the area. It will also encourage tourism by highlighting the literary heritage of Whitby and showcasing local craftsmanship.’’
Cllr Plant said: “I was happy to recommend the money from my locality budget because I was impressed with what the group was trying to achieve. Whitby in Bloom is doing a fantastic job in helping to keep us on the map and this is a brilliant cause.
“Something like this will brighten up an area which needs improving and is a fantastic project for the town. I am happy to be able to help a project which a lot of people are supporting.’’