The Tale of Two Cities story booklet starts its tour of the UK

In 2015 Grow Wild’s England Flagship, the Tale of Two Cities, embarked on an ambitious urban rejuvenation project. Their plan? To bring colour and wildlife to Liverpool and Manchester, uniting the two cities in the process.

In Everton Park in Liverpool, thousands of wild flowers transformed the view over the city. Meanwhile, in Manchester, locations all over the city were given a new lease of life, as previously underused and ‘no go’ areas were turned into beautiful spaces for the community to enjoy.

The project wanted to commemorate their momentous achievement in a way that reflected its collaborative spirit and creativity. And so the Tale of Two Cities story booklet was born. Featuring memories, poems and beautiful colourful illustrations, the fold-out booklet tells the story of the Tale of Two Cities through the many voices of the people who made it all possible.

The booklet will be touring the UK, stopping at Grow Wild projects all over the country to inspire a nation-wide collaboration: Grow Wild Tales. By taking inspiration from the Tale of Two Cities booklet, projects all over the country will be able to contribute to a creative digital publication. On Friday, the booklet started its journey around the UK at the official launch event.

Speaking at the event, Tale of Two Cities project lead Richard Scott said: “We’re the England Flagship for Grow Wild, and as a flagship, we hope to send out lines of communication, to inspire others, and to say, you can do it.”

The launch event saw project participants and local dignitaries from both Liverpool and Manchester coming together, firstly at Everton Park to unveil a commemorative plaque on the gates of the park. Despite the rain, Liverpool’s Lord Mayor Malcolm Kenny, brolly in hand, did the honours.

At the nearby St George’s Church, an exhibition by Friends of Everton Park, showed the full scale of the transformation in Liverpool, juxtaposing old archive images of the area with spectacular recent shots of the wild flowers.

From there (after a fantastic lunch of hot pies brought down from Homebaked, a community bakery next door to Liverpool FC’s football ground) it was time for everyone to pile aboard a coach to Manchester, to visit the Hulme Community Garden and meet up with some more participants who lead the wild flower transformations across Manchester.

The beautiful polytunnel at the garden provided shelter from the elements as the rain showed no signs of easing off. Undeterred, the celebration continued into the evening, with food (some of it fresh grown in the garden), locally brewed beer courtesy of Richard Searle and John Mouncey from Grow Wild’s community project Brew Wild and music from local young people.

Adam Byrne has been volunteering with the project since the very start. Chatting during the day, he explained what got him so excited about the project in the first place, “It’s punk rock, you know? Getting together, just getting stuck in, getting something done. And it’s empowerment. It was down to us, we did this, together.”

Watch this space for Grow Wild Tales as they start winging their way to Grow Wild HQ from all over the UK.

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