The Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, London, and dedicated community volunteers brought Shandy Park to flourish with a grant from the Our Space Award.

Key achievements:

  • Total area of land improved: 3110m2
  • Area of land depaved: 110m2
  • Number of bulbs / plants / seeds planted: 6000 bulbs, 5000 wildflowers, 6kg wildflower seeds
  • Number of volunteers engaged: 376 (112 adults; 264 under 18s)

With an Our Space Award, Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and dedicated community volunteers brought Shandy Park to flourish. The Flowering of Shandy Park project consisted of sixteen events overall in which 110m2 of tarmac was depaved, soil turned, and seeds sown of flowering bulbs and wildflowers, bringing an increase of environmental engagement and biodiversity to the urban park.

“Part of the project involved depaving two portions of tarmac that originally led to nowhere,” says project lead Michelle Lindson. After clearing the tarmac, community volunteers got involved in planting activities, which were accessible for all age groups.

“It was really nice to see that all our events were able to accommodate people of all ages.” – Michelle Lindson

264 under 18s and 112 adults were involved in the project in total. Some events included cross-collaboration, teaming up with a local nursery school, local businesses, Queen Mary University, local residents, and a Muslim girl-scouts group.

The project was not without its challenges. After the first round of planting was undertaken, news of the national COVID-19 lockdown was announced. This was followed by a particularly hot summer, leading to a loss of bulbs and plants that could not withstand the heat. However, when the volunteer groups returned in October, they were able to replant and repair the damage.

In total the community planted over 6000 bulbs, 5000 wildflowers, and 6kg of wildflower seeds. In addition to an increasing biodiversity, the project generated an interest in green space improvements and gardening in the community. The project allowed Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery to build meaningful local connections in the community, and the response from all those involved has been nothing but a positive one.

“It was so nice to see the way in which the project impacted the children’s confidence in particular, making them more inquisitive about the nature of the park. One of the youngest participants who took part would imitate the planting actions he had learnt in the session when visiting the park.”

Young volunteers taking part in the Flowering of Shandy Park

Since the project, the group have joined up with the council to develop more wildflower areas in the park, and hope to continue engaging the community in upcoming environmental projects.

Find out more about the Our Space Award here.