With thanks to Kevin McAleer and Lindy McDonnell, St Charles Garden Club Committee members, for this post.
St Charles Community Kitchen garden plot site was erected in December 2012 by The Royal Borough Environment Project (working with the NHS and Anchor Housing). This project was also part funded by the Western Riverside Environment Fund. Fifteen plots were assigned to local area community groups to encourage growing a range of vegetables and flowers. Second Half Centre, Age UK, Baraka Youth, Dalgarno Neighbourhood Trust, St Charles School, Blenheim Project, Open Age, the Oremi Centre, St Charles Health and Wellbeing staff, WAND and Living Well are some of the community groups on the site. The Mayor of London initiated the scheme in 2008 as part of his food growing initiative: Capital Growth with the aim of creating over 2,012 community gardens across London. St Charles was the 2,012th site!
The area is a peaceful oasis of tranquillity for people who almost invariably have no garden areas of their own and cherish the chance to escape the isolation they are liable to suffer at home. Organisations have been allocated plots according to their established links to helping the local community.
Although it is only our second year in existence we have managed to achieve the second highest award from London in Bloom.
St Charles Garden Club was set up in December 2013 by a small number of gardeners from various plots at St Charles who formed a committee in order to be first point of contact & social ambassadors for the site. We hold well attended bi monthly meetings; we also managed to procure funds that have helped us purchase garden tools and to organise an Open day that was well attended and enjoyed by other local garden groups as well as individual local residents and their families.As well as being busy with our own plots we emphasise and encourage a spirit of cooperation in matters such as watering each others plots and keeping the communal area tidy.
The area is open to all, such as outpatients of the hospital and N.H.S workers who often use the area to sit and have lunch. We have been ably assisted in our efforts by the K &C gardening team who have helped develop a comfortable and scenic communal area.
Through City Living, Local Life, the Club has successfully raised funds for gardening tools for those with disabilities and we also used the funds to hold an open day where other local gardening groups and local residents got together in the spirit of community.
We look forward to a bright, enduring future at St Charles, open and welcoming to all.