Brockwell Park Community Greenhouses (BCPG) is an independent environmental charity operating from a former municipal greenhouse site in the centre of Lambeth’s Brockwell Park. The site is now a vibrant community garden comprising a series of demonstration gardens and includes two commercial-sized greenhouses. The charity’s director, Kate Sebag, spoke to SF&G.
“Our mission is to create an attractive and welcoming space which provides a haven for local people and urban wildlife. We want to build community and improve lives by encouraging people to take part in gardening, outdoor learning, play and other creative activities at our site and at other green spaces.
“Our site is gardened organically, with significant capacity to make compost. We safeguard and signposts wildlife spaces (including ‘dead’ hedges, stagbeetle stacks, and our wildlife pond).
“We are open seven days a week for nature based education, exploration and play sessions for children, as well as for public visiting and for garden volunteering. We put on seasonal fetes, feasts and celebrations throughout the year. Taking part in our activities and visiting our site is both educational and therapeutic for many. We run a bespoke social and therapeutic gardening session every Friday 'Better Fridays.'
“Our gardening activities are suitable for all types of people from the youngest to the oldest! If people are at all mobility impaired, we have plenty of seated propagation work. Equally, for those who want a real work out, there's soil to be dug, compost to be turned, trees to be pruned etc. Our large site is very varied, with woodland, many raised beds for veg growing, herb garden, and natural dye plants all on site.
“In the last 12 months, we delivered 200+ outdoor learning sessions to 50 local schools, 120+ creative and play sessions to local families and 130+ adult workshops to 1000+ participants. We receive more than 20,000 visitors and volunteers contributed 16,000+ hours to the charity!”
In September 2019, the Royal Horticultural Society said that BPCG is: “a wonderful place ...that gives many people much pleasure” and gave us an Outstanding. Kate echoes that sentiment: “We provide a green haven for local people in the midst of the city and their busy lives.”
The charity is fundraising for their Greenhouses Community Fund to help support staff costs in the charity. They are also building a new community and educational space as well as creating a Learning Garden over the Autumn and Winter of 2021/2.
Finally, what do you value about being a member of SF&G?
“As SF&G members we’ve benefitted from training and discount schemes. We really value the opportunity to network with like-minded people.”
Scotswood Garden works with nature to create a great place for people and wildlife to enjoy. The garden is about community, whether in Scotswood and Benwell or the wider area, and they welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved in the work.
TheHorseCourse is a busy Equine-Assisted Interventions Centre based on an ex-dairy farm in Weymouth. Harriet Laurie, founder, explains what TheHorseCourse offers people who are struggling and for whom other more mainstream therapeutic approaches may not be working.