De Beauvoir Estate Community Garden: a summer of transformation
An under-used open space on De Beauvoir Estate in east London was completely transformed over the summer of 2018 thanks to five unstoppable teams of corporate volunteers. The teams from Plan A Consultants, Trident Energy, Ixxus, GVA and Firmdale Hotels joined forces to build allotment beds and pergolas, repurpose pallets into herb planters and plant a wildflower meadow in the grounds of the estate. This impressive new community garden has also become a new social space for residents, helping bring people together and strengthen the community.
The De Beauvoir Estate Tenants and Residents Association (DBTRA) set up their first community gardening ‘Grow Your Own’ project in 2017, to transform the space to create an area for them to get together and start a food growing group. The DBTRA then successfully secured funding from the Greener City Fund and asked Groundwork to collaborate with them to develop the space with the help of our corporate volunteers.
Five teams of volunteers, five days of action:
Over a number of days, volunteers took on practical and creative gardening and carpentry tasks. In May 2018 Plan A Consultants joined us for the first corporate volunteering day at De Beauvoir constructing and installing 10 large and 6 small raised beds in just one day. A huge achievement.
The following week, 5 volunteers from Trident Energy lined and filled the raised beds with high grade topsoil. This small but mighty team’s task was crucial, as it allowed the residents to start planting herbs and vegetables just in time for summer.
We were back at De Beauvoir at the end of May with Ixxus, who worked on the finishing touches to the raised beds and also constructed some additional small planters, repurposed pallet boards into a walled herb garden and planted herbs. The demand is high among the residents for an allotment space so the extra planters they constructed were really appreciated by the residents.
At the beginning of August a team from GVA constructed a pergola, dug out roots and overturned soil for the wildflower meadow. Under the pergola they installed two benches and planters on either side for climbing plants. After a little growing time, the pergola will offer a calm, shaded seating area. The residents were then able to sow the wildflower seeds and plant the climbers during community gardening workshops that followed.
In mid-August a group of volunteers from Firmdale Hotels joined us for the final day of action at De Beauvoir. They constructed a three tiered fern and shade garden, added the finishing touches to the pergola and constructed tables out of cable drums. The team brought a huge amount of energy to the final day of action, completing the tasks and the project with bags of enthusiasm.
A huge thank you to all the teams of corporate volunteers who made this project the success it is today. All the teams completely surpassed all expectations and with their hard work and enthusiasm. Thanks to the volunteers – and the heatwave – the residents have had a hugely successful growing season in the summer of 2018, harvesting a host of vegetables including tomatoes, aubergines and courgettes. They continue to run gardening workshops and enjoy this wonderful community space. Groundwork London and the residents of De Beauvoir Estate cannot thank you enough for your efforts, each and every day working with you at De Beauvoir was an absolute pleasure.
“It’s been fantastic to see such amazing results, the space has been transformed into a little green paradise and it wouldn’t have happened or been made possible without all that work and support from Groundwork and the volunteers. We now have the infrastructure that allows people to enjoy gardening who wouldn’t otherwise be able to. I love the fact that we’re not just growing food but friendships and bonds across ages, classes and ethnicities.” – De Beauvoir Estate Garden Allotments Gardener