Time & Talents is a local charity based in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, whose vision is to create a place where everyone feels a part of the community. Founded in 1887 to support the people of Rotherhithe and Bermondsey, today Time & Talents runs social, art and learning-based activities for all ages, as well as targeted activities for people with high levels of need; such as isolated elderly people and disabled groups.

‘A Secret Garden for All’ was inspired by a 36 x 7.5m derelict piece of land, hidden behind a neighbouring property. The garden had become very overgrown and a hotspot for crime, drinking, and fly-tipping. With the consensus that a used space is far more likely to be a safe space, Time & Talents applied for the Our Space Award funding to turn the space into a community garden.

Food poverty is a prominent issue in the surrounding housing estates, and local food banks are oversubscribed. A lack of nutritional awareness and few outlets for fresh food are also major concerns. Time & Talents will therefore use the community garden as an opportunity to grow fresh fruit and vegetables for locals to eat together and take away. The idea being that fresh produce can be a significant avenue to tackling food poverty, learning about nutrition, as well as having a knock-on effect to other social problems. As well as gardening activities, the space is also being used to run sessions with Time & Talents’ existing programmes for older people, families and children.

In autumn 2018, the ground was cleared and made ready for wider use, with major work being completed by the end of January 2019. After January, workshops and events were held throughout the spring and summer to attract interest from the wider community. This is a long-term project which Time & Talents hope will make a permanent difference to the area and build capacity for more activity.

Sarah Gibb, Director at Time & Talents, said:

The Our Space Award enabled local volunteers and team members to uncover and create a new garden space for the community. Time & Talents brings people together for fun and friendship and we are proud to now be able to do this with inter-generational growing, gardening and sharing of fresh produce in the Secret Garden for All.