It has been a great few months since our initial Consultation day back in the Autumn of 2014. There have been lots of informal discussions about plans for the outside space amongst local residents; spear headed by a core group who have taken ownership of the vision and are keen to get others involved.
The core group have had three formal meetings to discuss plans (one held at the Anerley Arms, one in the Community Centre and the other on the green space). These evolved into a Launch/Build/Workshop day being held on Thursday 9th April from 9.30-4.30 which was attended by over 50 people of all ages; many from the estate as well as wider Affinity Sutton and private accommodation. As well as beds being built, workshops engaged many of the participants in making eco pots, planting seeds, and art work to be fixed to the outsides of the beds. There was also a community BBQ which encouraged people to stay for the day, meet neighbours and get involved in all aspects of the day.
A strong working partnership has been built with Men in Sheds Penge and a couple of visits have been made to their working base to talk plans and get the men interested and involved in the vision. A volunteer Project Manager for the St Hughs garden is now in place at Men in Sheds which has been an absolute bonus; enabling us to liaise closely and effectively and for this to result not only in our wood for the build being sourced free, but also many men interested in the project and the project manager maintaining an ongoing link (for example coming to our spontaneous pot making/seeding morning this week!)
We now have four wheelchair accessible raised beds spanning across the front of the green space. All are decorated with art work in the hope this increases the sense of ownership across the age ranges. About 75 eco pots have been made and seeds planted ready for germinating. Approx 50 community members have completed application forms (although a handful are to be followed up as no emails/phone numbers or in some cases signatures). A camera has been bought to take photographic evidence and some gardening gloves, seed trays, compost and trowels/forks/spades/watering cans, an eco pot maker and some paints.
- Rubble/wood are being sourced (recycled) for the base of the beds to provide drainage and nourishment to the soil
- Prices for top soil are being investigated with a view to ordering 3-4 tonnes in the next couple of weeks
- Informal sessions are continuing to make more eco pots and plant up many more seeds for germinating
- Publicity has appeared on Twitter, Streetlife and Facebook and a new page is being constructed for the HLCA website which will be for the Garden/Outdoor Project
- Provisional plans are being made for Men in Sheds to run a further workshop or two in the half term/summer holidays to make Bird Houses and Bug Hotels
- Discussions are being had about what storage would work to enable tools to be safe but not too hard to access!!
- Thought is going into naming the Garden and how we can build this in as a whole community activity
- A database is being set up to extract the contact info from the registration forms and make a contact list for registered community members