Westcott Park Community Garden celebrates first birthday
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, Catalyst Housing Starcom 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.”
1. The garden now includes:
• An apiary where new bee keepers are being trained
• Pollinator friendly planting throughout including several colourful nectar bars
• Wild life garden
• 34 tree fruit orchard
• Chicken keeping
• Poly tunnel and green house growing facilities
• Garden classroom
2. More about Catalyst Gateway:
Formed in 2010 to bring together the community development work of Catalyst Housing – one of the country’s largest housing associations – Catalyst Gateway has three main areas of work:
• Employment and skills – particularly through apprenticeships and working with local employers to support local people to access job vacancies. Catalyst Housing works closely with its suppliers to offer apprenticeship and employment opportunities.
• Young people and family – working with ex-offenders, families affected by gang crime and young people who feel excluded from society. Catalyst Gateway’s award winning Pathways to Progress project runs mentoring schemes with young people and their families. It has been at the forefront of the response to last year’s riots in the communities it serves.
• Community enterprise – creating and supporting community services based on local need. Examples include running programmes of gardening, parenting classes, healthy cooking, and sewing classes through local community centres in West London and the South East.
Last year more than 7,500 people took part in activities through Catalyst Gateway.
3. More about Groundwork London
Groundwork London builds sustainable communities in areas of need through joint environmental action.
To do this, we deliver practical projects with our partners in four key areas:
• Communities & Young People – engaging communities in decision making, realising the potential of young people;
• Urban Landscapes & Open Space – improving the quality, use and enjoyment of public open spaces through the delivery of appropriate landscape architectural solutions;
• Environmental Services – promoting positive environmental behaviour in schools, communities, businesses and organisations;
• Employment & Skills Training – delivering skills training and employment opportunities.
4. Contact David Blackett on 020 8832 3486 or 07966 489332 or Niall Smith on 0208 832 3142 or 07779 288489. For out of hours media enquiries please phone 07779 288489.