Overgrown pocket parks, traffic islands and tree pits are some of the sites that have been ‘greened’ with flower beds or transformed into community gardens by local people volunteering their time to improve spaces where they live.
With previous volunteering experience, recently arrived Acton resident Jackie Duke was keen to get involved to help maintain a newly created small garden in her street at the junction of Agnes Road and The Vale.
With funding provided by the local Ward Forum, perennial plants and shrubs were planted after residents reported that this was an area prone to fly tipping.
Jackie said, “This is a lovely area of London and, as an amateur gardener, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help maintain the garden. Green areas benefit everybody and make the city a pleasant place to live. I have previously volunteered with the London Wildlife Trust at Gunnersbury Triangle nature reserve and now at London Zoo. I think the Agnes Road garden is very pretty, a great use of space and cleverly designed to be easily maintained”.
In the Mill Hill Park conservation area of South Acton, a group of residents continue to sustain a small pocket park in Crown Street that in the past was underused as a result of anti-social behaviour.
With the support of their ward councillors’ and assistance of council officers, the group designed the planting plan and encouraged additional assistance from the community.
Tatiana Collins, chair of Mill Hill Park Residents Association, said: “This project was a genuine collaboration between many parties – Mill Hill Park residents, the council’s parks and neighbourhood teams and West London College students. We had a tiny budget from the ward forum, which we used creatively to come up with an interesting year-round design, utilising local talent, led by Marcia Hurst and Anna Dargaval. The biggest challenge was always going to be the maintenance of the garden going forward. However, once the residents saw the result, they have always been keen to help. It is incredibly rewarding to create your own public spaces”.