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Community place makers

Picture of community groups in Wellington

Around every corner in Wellington, you’ll find amazing people quietly doing amazing things. As well as an array of traditional charities, clubs and societies, there are a growing number of ‘place makers’ – individuals coming together to protect, enhance, reuse and reinvent all sorts of places and spaces in and around the town. Here are some of those place-maker groups and details of how you can get involved.

Apley Woods sits to the north-east of Wellington in what was, until the mid-20th Century, the grounds of Apley Castle.

Now a largely residential area, local people came together to form The Friends of Apley Woods in 2007 to address the decline of the woodland and the deterioration of its habitats. In the years since, they have been working hard with Telford & Wrekin Council, the Small Woods Association and the Shropshire Wildlife Trust to restore, maintain and develop Apley Woods, its lake, ponds and meadow. Its volunteers include local residents, young people from across Telford and people with learning and physical disabilities. They work at the site every week, engaging in woodland management tasks and habitat enhancements. The group also runs regular activity days, nature walks and events.

In its early years well over a decade ago, Wellington’s LA21 group started a Farmers Market in the market square championing locally-produced food. It has gone on to produce a series of excellent walking and cycling guides available at two new websites Explore the Weald Moors and Explore The Wrekin and through the Discovering Wellington project promotes a wide range of heritage, literary and environmental initiatives such as Walking With The Ancestors, Victorian Wellington and Wellington at War.

Wellington H2A (Heritage & Arts Alive) was formed in 2007. The group’s aims are to promote awareness and enjoyment of heritage and the arts in and around Wellington for the social, cultural and economic benefit of the town and its inhabitants. H2A is also keen to promote the maintenance, enhancement and enjoyment of Wellington’s built heritage and public spaces.  

H2A organise Charter Day every March, the Midsummer Fayre every June and Sounds in The Square each July and August. They also lead one-off projects, such as the Makers’ Town project and the Makers Dozen Mural Trail.

Dothill Local Nature Reserve forms the largest area of publicly accessible green land in the Wellington area and became a designated located nature reserve in February 2016. The LNR comprises three main areas; Dothill Pool, Tee Lake and Beanhill Valley.  These areas combined have a multitude of habitats including a series of ponds, lakes, streams and wetland area when the streams flood.  One of the ponds includes a large reed-bed, all areas are linked by grassland, scrub and woodland with well-established hedges. There are well trodden footpaths around the area providing reasonable access.

The Friends group organises regular volunteer work parties which help to maintain and improve the nature reserve for local people to enjoy.

Wellington was awarded ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status in 2010, thanks to the efforts of local walkers, Wellington LA21 and Wellington Town Council. The WaW group has produced a range of walking routes around Wellington, including The Wrekin Forest, Wrockwardine and the Wealdmoors, and organises a regular series of Sunday guided walks. Once a year in September the group hosts a packed week-long Walking Festival featuring around 20 walks.

The Peace Gardeners

The Peace Gardeners

This group of volunteer gardeners maintains the Peace Garden in the centre of Wellington, opposite the town’s Civic and Leisure Centre. Since it was first planted in 2012, it has bloomed into a bright, welcoming spectacle at what is, for many visitors, the entrance to the conservation area. Importantly for George Evans, the D-Day veteran with whom it all started, this is also a garden with a message. It is not only a peaceful place in the most literal sense of the word, but also a place that symbolises a commitment to building a more peaceful world. The ethos of the garden is that it belongs to everyone – anybody can plant something here and tend it, there are no rules and no committees.

The Wellington Orbit, which opened in April 2019 is a brand new cinema and arts centre in the heart of Wellington – and it’s a project being led entirely by the community. It all started in 2012 with a campaign to reopen the town’s old Clifton Cinema – a campaign which snowballed into a mass community project with hundreds of shareholders contributing tens of thousands of pounds. The group has staged regular ‘pop-up cinema’ nights in existing venues – often sell out events – and has started to stage live events as well. With the original Clifton building earmarked for alternative use, the group switched its attentions a grand former bank on Market Square – bringing the arts right back into the centre of Wellington.

Since 1849, Wellington Station has brought visitors directly into the centre of the town, just a minute’s stroll from the Market Square. It’s an important point of entry into the town, generating over 600,000 journeys a year, yet its neat redbrick buildings look unloved and under-utilised.

In spring 2017 members of the Wellington community ‘adopted’ the town’s railway station. Under the Adopt a Station scheme, volunteers are working hard to brighten up the station and create a more inviting, distinctive gateway to Wellington and in 2020 the station adopters became a properly constituted group.  Work so far has resulted in new planting and painting and ongoing work to bring in other businesses to fill unused station buildings.

A lovely little park to the west of the town centre, the Bowring Park is a peaceful green space with a children’s play area, tennis courts, bowling greens, table tennis tables and a thriving café.  

The Friends of the Bowring Park began in 2018 and has a 10-strong committee, regular working groups and is forging links with local primary schools who visit. In June 2019 the first ever ‘Wellington Wellbeing Day’ was held there.

Wellington History Group comprises a group of individuals interested in researching, promoting and sharing the history in the town. The group’s Wellingtonia Magazine has unearthed all sorts of weird and wonderful stories about the town’s past, ancient and recent, and every year the group organises a programme of free talks.

The Belfrey Arts Centre and Theatre houses a small theatre with raked seating, a licenced bar and extensive costume wardrobe which is available to hire. Shows are performed throughout the year including the Wellington Drama Festival in November.

The Arts centre also provides a home to the Belfrey Pottery a community pottery run by a small group of pottery and ceramic enthusiasts and the Telford Makerspace - a community run group with a small membership fee, aimed at makers, tinkerers, fixers and artists.

Love Wellington

Love Wellington

Working closely with the Wellington Regeneration Board (Town Council and Telford & Wrekin Council) Love Wellington is a team of local volunteers shining a light on everything we Love about Wellington; helping to promote and market Wellington, encouraging more residents to 'talk it up' and shop locally.  Work also includes supporting the town's businesses through marketing campaigns and providing networking opportunities as well as bringing together all the groups in the community.

Love Wellington has quickly built a loyal and growing community online. In 2019 Love Wellington led the entry into the Great British High Street Awards, in which the town was runner up in the 'Rising Star' category