Community garden to be created collaboratively in south east London

by Alice Wright

Work has begun on a new garden in New Cross, London that will be designed and created collectively by the community for the community.

The garden is part of The Field, a co-operatively-run community building that officially opened in November last year. Anyone can participate in running the space and it provides a free place for local people and organisations to meet and run events and workshops.

Alice McHugh, a member of The Field, explained that the building also has an outdoor area which had become a bit of a dumping ground.

“Since we started doing the place up last February we’ve been talking to lots of people in the area and have had public meetings and discussions about how we can use the space at the back,” she said. “That led to a collectively-led design which we used at the beginning of March to start a campaign on Spacehive.”

The campaign on the crowdfunding site raised in three weeks more than £9,000 in cash and in-kind donations of resources such as timber, seeds and soil which will be used to transform the outside space into a garden designed by the community, for the community.

“It’s intended to be a flexible space that can accommodate lots of different things and lots of different needs,” said Alice

The design includes a workshop, where classes can be held, a greenhouse that will also double as a meeting room and social space, and an outdoor kitchen. Growing spaces will provide a resource for experimenting with urban agriculture. The design itself is flexible and open to further input from the community as the garden evolves and takes shape.

Work has begun on the core structures, and it is hoped the garden will be completed by mid-July.

Volunteers are meeting on Sundays from 10am-6pm and Mondays and Tuesdays from 2pm-8pm to co-create the garden. The Field also aims to use these sessions to provide workshops and events so people can learn new skills while helping to create the garden.

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