Sustainable City Awards 2016/17 winner Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses is a community garden in the centre of Lambeth’s Brockwell Park. The charity’s beautiful, large site includes an orchard, a series of demonstration gardens, a walled herb garden and two commercial-sized greenhouses.
Kate Sebag, BPCG’s director said “We are absolutely delighted to have had this recognition from The City of London of the beneficial impact of our work both for people and for the environment.”
BPCG aim to help people grow through learning, and learn through growing. The gardens run a drop in garden volunteering scheme, school visits, community events and workshops. “At BPCG” says Kate “we want people to appreciate the great outdoors! To learn about organic gardening, wildlife, growing food and enjoying community.
On Monday to Wednesday, and on alternate Saturdays, BPCG hold booked nature based education and play sessions for children. Then Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm, the gardens are open to the public to visit and for drop-in garden volunteering. All are welcome to visit and volunteer – all ages, young and old, whatever their physical or mental ability, knowledge or disposition. The sign at our open gates says: “We are your Community Garden. Why not drop in and see what we are up to?” BPCG’s inclusive approach means they achieve a real diversity of visitors and volunteers and high participation levels.
There’s gardening and children’s activities all year round at BPCG and this August the place is buzzing with activities as children take part in workshops about Bees, Pollination and Honey; Butterflies and Dragonflies; and Making Herby Flatbreads. For all the family there are music concerts and pizza baking at the cob oven. For adults, there are green woodworking sessions. And then there’s harvesting galore of fruit trees, bushes, tomatoes, chillies, squashes, salads, beans and much more!
The tranquillity of BPCG’s green space within a green space; the inclusivity and community spirit of the project; the ability to get outside and be in nature and with other people; the chance to nurture plants, learn about them and to harvest and eat fresh produce straight from the ground – all these things deliver increased health and wellbeing to local people.
Visitors and volunteers love the opportunity to buy fresh produce – which they will often pick themselves – from the gardens. They know it’s grown organically and literally could not be fresher. Sometimes, they will exclaim in amazement at learning how a plant produces its edible parts. This experience results in both kids and adults being open to eating more fresh and healthy produce.
The project have just been re-awarded their Green Flag Community award with the judge saying of BPCG: “A wonderful community project demonstrating a wide range of functions and activities, supported by a passionate team of staff and volunteers and clearly well-loved by the local community. A pleasure to visit and a credit to the local area.” BPCG were also recently awarded “Silver Gilt” in the London in Bloom – Our Community category, and “Thriving” in the London in Bloom – It’s Your Neighbourhood category.