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Vacant Lot project - temporary community garden created using recycled builders bags

Vacant Lot

Where: London

Project type: Community green space

People on lower incomes tend to miss out on the health and wellbeing benefits of good quality green space.

Vacant Lot was a new way to fix this in a quick and cost effective way. They were built in a way that meant they could use neglected spaces that were awaiting development to create something of value for their communities.

Groundwork London teamed up with What if: projects to create 20 new community allotments on housing estates.

The Vacant Lot project provided a creative solution to growing fresh food for residents in social housing where space is limited. Consultation with with residents led to a design tailored to meet the needs of each community. The spaces were also designed to be semi-permanent, easily constructed and cost effective to both install and maintain.

In total 7145m2 of land was transformed and 879 plots were created using raised beds and half-tonne soil bags.

These gardens were quick to build with few specialist skills and converted unattractive areas into an asset for residents.

Many residents also undertook Working on Allotments AQA accredited training and supported to establish residents gardening groups to manage the running of the allotments themselves.

The project was a resounding success, 85% of residents on the Vacant Lot estates thought that the project had helped bring the community together. 

You can find out more on the Vacant Lot and Groundwork London websites.

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Hear local resident, Irene, talk about the difference that the Vacant Lot project made to Sandford Courts where she lives:

The three year project was funded by the Big Lottery "Local Food" programme and the partnering social housing providers; Family Mosaic, Southern Housing Group, Circle 33 Housing Trust, Newlon Housing Trust and Homes for Islington.