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Editor calls for cash to save growing project

A regional daily is throwing its full weight behind an environmental initiative that supporters claim could one day lead to international recognition for the city.

The Peterborough Telegraph is backing a massive race against time to raise £750,000 for the region’s renowned Green Backyard.

The community growing project has won an army of admirers – as well as £3.5m in external funding – since it first opened five years ago within walking distance of Peterborough’s city centre.

But now the city council, which owns the 2.3 acre site, has announced the land is up for sale and project volunteers have just six weeks to express their interest in buying it with a “realistic” fundraising programme.

PT editor Mark Edwards has made an impassioned personal plea to ensure the continuation of something that has “helped transform the lives of many people.”

He told the paper’s readers: “The fundraising target is enormous. The city council has to turn over every stone as it tries to balance its books in the face of ever growing financial challenges.

“But it’s a shame that this project is threatened by that process.

“The Green Backyard could move and the council will help with that, but, as many volunteers will tell you, it is the location that has helped contribute to its success. “

The city has benefitted from some important external funds – from winning £3m from the Future Cities fund to promote sustainable business to the £500,000 a year the Arts Council gives towards the city’s successful arts festival and other projects.

Mark added: “Big sums intended to help organisations make a difference to local communities.

“So many projects have received external funding in Peterborough and other areas – and there can be very few more deserving recipients of support cash than the Green Backyard project anywhere.

“The Peterborough Telegraph will support the Green Backyard’s fundraising efforts. The £750,000 target is a daunting one, but the money would secure a superb project that changes lives for generations to come.

“It has taken so long to grow it cannot be allowed to whither,” he said.