Urban Garden Project
In 2009, DASL negotiated an extended lease on premises in East London. Part of the building was a large back yard, previously used for maintenance/building storage work by a housing association. We immediately started to improve this area, realising the potential benefits that could be afforded to our client group by being able to use this space productively. It was a very big task. The area measures 7500 sq feet. Initially we received grants from HBOS, Its Your Community O2 Awards, BITC and Barhale. Fujitsu sponsored a team of their staff to come and help us create a large growing area from recycled tyres and we used organic gardening principles to create a series of raised beds and shed with a green roof. We received small grants from Capital Growth, donated tools, garden furniture and a wormery. We developed the project for 2 years. The area is similar to a walled garden and the produce thrives. For clients this was a hugely beneficial experience. We had negotiated a contract with a local café for the regular supply of vegetables when the austerity cuts hit and the garden project could no longer be a priority. Now, at the start of 2015 with increased funding for both staff time and equipment and with the same enthusiasm for the potential of this space the time is right for us to revive the project. We have a lot of ideas – as do our clients.
Our objectives are to serve people from a range of disadvantaged backgrounds who wish to learn and benefit from growing and from learning gardening skills. We also wish to offer a green space to local residents which they can use for recreation, training and meetings. But the project can do so much more than this. At a time when we are appointing our first salaried gardener, the growth of urban/community gardens – from small tenant plots to massive environmentally friendly kitchen gardens supplying local food outlets - all across London is at a peak. We have links with an amazing network to learn from and to share best practice with – not to mention any surplus of pumpkins.
Currently the garden provides:
- 11 raised vegetable beds;
- flower and shrub borders;
- a greenhouse;
- a MASSIVE selection of gardening tools;
- seating and socialising area;
- an array of potted plants including large bamboos;
- a wormery;
- recreational areas.
But there is so much more we can and will do ...
We are very grateful to Awards for All, the Plunkett Foundation, Beatrice Laing Foundation, Finnis Scott Foundation and Sainsbury’s for their support.
If you are looking to learn about gardening, belong to a community group, looking for a space to socialise and learn new skills, or have ideas for a different initiative within this space and want to join other people in developing the garden please feel free to call DASL on 0333 055 8585.
Alternatively, if you would like to make a referral please complete our referral form.