Groundwork first met Irene in the Autumn of 2010 when she asked for our help to create a community garden in Hackney, where she lives.
When Groundwork first visited Irene at her home, we soon realised that she was incredibly fond of her estate and her neighbours. With her wonderful sense of humour and gritty determination, this project was not to be taken lightly and we wanted to pull out all the stops to get it off the ground.
So through funding from our Vacant Lot Project and Transform in 2011, we were able to support Irene's dream for her and her neighbours. Groundwork and What If Projects Ltd, created 40 bespoke vegetable plots, converted old pram sheds into a tool sheds, chalk and noticeboards, provided a bank of tools to share, a full growing season of gardening sessions and supported the community to create a committee to run the garden long term.
But even when we had done this, there was no stopping Irene. She wondered if we knew how to change a boring wall into a mural, so Groundwork helped Irene apply for funding to Dulux and they now have a sunrise mural, designed and painted by the residents which brightens up the pathway through the estate.
Irene is showing no sign of slowing down! She has attended a course in Food Safety Hygiene, Community Champion Training and was hugely inspiring on the Vacant Lot Celebration Bus tour in 2013.
An active member of her community, she attends her Resident Liaison Group to help manage local issues and monitor estate cleaning and services. She even helps out fundraising for a local Hospice - with a sky dive in 2012.
So, watch this space, we are sure Irene will be back with her next idea for her treasured space soon and we look forward to it!
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