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About Wigan Wildlife Gardener

Hi I'm Ali

As a child, I would spend hours in the garden with my Granny watching her work away until she one day let me try. Sowing seeds and making miniature gardens within her garden, I should have known then it was my calling.

Growing up, I was influenced by my Mum, who grew fruit and veg all year round with a huge passion for sharing and working with what was available. When I became a Mum myself, I found myself passing on the same passion to my own daughter. By the age of 5, she had her own campaign #joinember, where she would litter pick for full days and had a viral video with Wigan council, which boosted recycling across the borough.

For years I trained and worked in schools, often finding myself talking to students about wildlife and plants and taking them for walks during their tricky days.

From this, I started a gardening group within the high school's SEN department.

When lockdown arrived, my friend and I struggled to be cooped indoors and started noticing litter and a lack of biodiversity, and that's when life changed for me.

We started studying horticulture; we started making seed packets of wildflower seeds as gifts for residents and schools, over 700 packets in the first year. We spent many days setting up wildlife friendly spaces within the borough. We call ourselves "Give it a Grow Wigan."

We noticed our mental health improving and people interacting and wanting to come together, so we carried on. We learned everything we could. From building wildlife ponds, holding volunteering gardening sessions, joining native tree planting events, and helping our own borough become brighter became addictive.

Our group expanded, and we started winning awards for our work from RHS and being sought out for helping multiple projects from Standish to Tyldesley in community gardens, Atherton Cemetery, and parks, and we loved every moment of it.

At this point, I had lost my passion for my current work role and craved to be outside. Initially, I moved to Bents garden centre to learn more. Soon I decided to offer my passionate skills as a sustainable local gardener.

Bit by bit, clients came, skills developed, and I attended everything I could to learn. I invested everything in tools and equipment and haven't looked back since.

In 2022 I was awarded Climate Hero of Wigan borough and knew my passion to connect people with nature was something I would forever be pursuing.

I've been working for residents, local businesses, supporting community events, and holding stalls as much as I can through Give it a Grow Wigan and Wigan Wildlife Gardener.

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