Westcott Park Community Garden celebrates first birthday
By: Steve Ott
A beautiful community garden built on an area of wasteland that was previously a hotspot for antisocial behaviour celebrates its first birthday today.
The Westcott Park garden, in the London Borough of Ealing was overgrown and in extreme disrepair . It required complete clearing and ground preparation before any planting could take place. During the cleaning process, a number of hypodermic needles were found requiring specialist clearing of the area before any local people could gain access.
It took over a year and 2000 voluntary hours from residents and corporate volunteers from companies including Catalyst Housing, media company Starcom and soft drinks firm Britvic to transform the space.
The garden is now a beautiful community space which is being used by voluntary groups to grow their own food, produce honey and eggs and organise social events. Catalyst Gateway and Groundwork London are also using the garden to deliver training in gardening, conservation and livestock rearing.
Catalyst Gateway has been supported in this project with funding from the Big Lottery’s Local Food Fund, Catalyst Housing, Heathrow Trust, Capital Growth, Britvic and Starcom. Employees from Britvic, Starcom and Catalyst Housing also donated voluntary hours.
A celebration of the first year’s work was held on Saturday 13 October. Attendees were treated to a barbecue and a range of activities took place including:
· Honey extraction demonstration
· A talk on beekeeping
· A talk on how to keep chickens
· Bulb planting
· Making seed bombs
· Music by local resident Jose Hernando Arias Noguera – a guitarist, singer and accordionist who played at the BBC Proms last July.
Leanne Baxter, managing Director of Catalyst Gateway said :
“It’s fantastic that we can reclaim this space and give it back to the community. Westcott Park Community Garden will give many people the chance to learn new skills and meet their neighbours in a fun, safe environment, in addition to being a beautiful space for local people to enjoy”
Cllr Hitesh Tailor said:
“This is a fantastic garden project that has helped bring the local community together in transforming this piece of land. It’s a real credit to the people involved in the community and beyond who have helped make this happen.”
Mark Patterson, Community Gardener, Groundwork London said:
"At Groundwork we are passionate about improving outdoor spaces and empowering people to transform under-utilised land into green spaces. We have spent the past year working with local people to transform this derelict area of land and it is now a flourishing garden used by all the community."
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