Action Now transformed an under utilised open space at the Paulet Estate in Lambeth into an aesthetic and fully functional community garden.


   

Action Now set up a pilot to engage, inspire and motivate the community to take pride in the regeneration of their space, educating local residents in social and environmental wellbeing.

This project has come about through a community development programme in partnership with Lambeth Living and The Remakery.


The Problem

The open space at Paulet Estate was an unappreciated and neglected green space which served mainly as an access route to the back flats and as a walk through. The site was poorly maintained, encouraged little wildlife, consisted of basic vegetation, had issues with dumping waste, dog fouling and was uninviting for social interaction. The surrounding area offered few essential amenities, sitting in a predominantly residential area, lacking community facilities.

A key challenge was in building trust, commitment and cohesion between residents, community and local council associations to ensure the long-term legacy of the improved green space.


The Solution

Action Now facilitated community consultations and engagement activities that utilised door knocking, social networking, promotional flyers, posters, questionnaires as well as hosting events in the space itself. These efforts developed trust through participation and dialog, while ensuring that local needs and interests for the space were respected and cared for.

Within the space, variable growing areas were established and planters installed. Produce was planted, grown, maintained and harvested directly by community members. The Action Now team also created social spaces and wildlife conservation areas to improve biodiversity.

Through creative upcycling techniques that used materials harvested at The Remakery, the team created exciting items for the garden and reduced spending costs.

Ongoing dialog and communication with the community has ensured that the space will continue to receive regular care and maintenance, and support the garden to grow and thrive. Evaluations are routinely carried out by a committed team, along with meetings to ensure that the original aims of the project will continue to deliver a lasting result. 

Baseline Facts

Located between Brixton and Camberwell in South London – an area of high unemployment and where skill levels are low. An ethnically diverse location with various educational, cultural and environmental organisations directly around the site.

The Paulet Road Estate consists of five, three storey blocks of flats which sit along Paulet Road. The garden entrances are via steps from Lilford Road or Penford Street. The space is long and narrow (approx 48 x 8.5m) with a path along one side, used to access the flats and as a walk-through between streets.

 


Site Issues

  • pedestrian walkway 24hrs a day, little privacy for residents along with people hanging around at night

  • wheelchair access restricted directly through garden due to lack of ramp Lilford Road entrance

  • lack of appreciation for site with neglected areas and poor upkeep

  • dumped mixed vegetation cuttings on paving area plus general rubbish along edges of site
     

  • small social area with one old bench and no shelter
  • basic vegetation and wildlife without diversity
  • old bin shed, disused, possible future vandalism
  • grassed area, unused, worn and various weeds 
  • dog fouling

  • flood risk in areas

Community Vision

  • produce growing for local residents

  • biodiversity, wildlife and habitat
  • community engagement

  • leisure and social events

  • education and green training


Key Beneficiaries

  1. Lambeth Living residents
  2. local community
  3. volunteer organisations
  4. eco-tourism
  5. research and educational schemes
  6. nature and environment

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