Elephant and Castle is home to some of the poorest communities
in London - the ward in which our community garden sits is rated by
the government as within the top 20% most deprived in the country,
and within the top 3% in terms of living environment deprivation.
Our projects attempt to address these issues by strengthening and expanding the local network of community gardeners. Gardening is
one way that people can take positive action to improve the quality
of their living environment, and even in a densely built area like Elephant there are lots of overlooked pieces of space that could be better used and more beautiful.
Grow Elephant Community Garden is our main hub.
It's an interim use community garden that's designed to be mobile - we've been in 3 different locations since 2012, the same elements reconfigured each time we occupy a new site. The current version of the garden has a large public social area, a quieter members only garden where our volunteers grow their own fruit and veg, a wildflower meadow, kitchen garden, cafe, greenhouse and training area. We organise at least one volunteering session every week and anybody is welcome to come and help us take care of the garden - see the events page for details of upcoming sessions.
The Rockingham Estate is just across from our community garden on the other side of New Kent Road. The estate is organised around a series of planted courtyards with some beautiful mature trees, naturalised bulbs, and shrub/herbaceous planting in raised brick planters. Many of these raised planters are
long neglected and in need of some love and attention, so we've started working with residents on the estate to improve them.
Grow Edible Elephant is a project about getting people to grow their own food in Elephant and Castle. Supported by Southwark Councils Neighbourhoods Fund we've been working with local schools, teaching children how to grow their own fruit and veg, and ramping up food production at our community garden.
In summer 2015 we worked with staff from Jack Hobbs Community Centre and children from the Camberwell Afterschool project (CASP) restore this overgrown community garden on Brandon Estate, with support from local developer Lend Lease. The garden is now an attractive space for community centre events and its maintained by children from the after-school project, with help from us
We've been working with residents on Newington Estate since spring 2015, helping improve some of the estates planters and green spaces.
The Newington has lots of green space but needs investment to improve some of the planting that's getting towards the end of its life. We've been tackling this bit by bit. Our 'Big Bulb Plant' event in Autumn 2015 was the biggest garden event we've done to date - with over 50 people planting approximately 3000 daffodils over the course of an afternoon.
Hughes House is a Southwark Council run sheltered housing projects for people aged 65+. The housing is built around a courtyard garden that we help residents take care of.
© design by Luc Bernay -May 2016