In Brockley Rise, just a few minutes away from the busy main road, you will find a beautiful garden tucked away in a Church’s grounds. This calm oasis in the middle of the urban hubbub is St.Saviour’s Edible Garden, just one of Lewisham’s community gardens tended by volunteers.
The garden was set-up by Lewisham local Ruth Robinson back in 2009. She was taking a diploma in permaculture-sustainable gardening based on the concept of planting what works best for the local environment, eating what you grow, and avoiding waste.
Ruth explains, “My motivation to set up the garden was to turn a bit of ‘green concrete’ into productive land as well as wildlife-friendly space.” Ruth teamed up with St. Saviour’s Church, who had some spare land, and thanks to initial funding from Capital Growth the garden was born.
A diverse group of people come to volunteer in the garden on the first Monday morning of each month (10.30am-12pm) and it is clear that they get a lot out of it. A common theme is that working outdoors in nature is a really relaxing and therapeutic experience. For those who do not work full-time, regular gardening also helps give them structure and a sense of giving back to their local community. Herbs, fruit and vegetables are all grown, so an added a bonus is that there’s sometimes produce to take away when there’s been a bumper crop!
However, it is not just the volunteers who benefit from the garden, local residents, many of whom don’t have their own gardens, are also able to come and enjoy the plants and the wildlife.
As Father David Vyvyan, Priest-in-Charge at St. Saviour’s, describes, “many people pass through the Churchyard each day or sit and enjoy the peace. The edible garden helps to show that the Church is a living, active space at the heart of the local community.”
There are plans to expand the garden, but as Ruth explains, funding and resourcing is a constant issue. They are always in need of donations of plants, compost and tools.
To volunteer, donate resources or find out more about this glorious garden, please contact: email@example.com
Lewisham is lucky to have dozens of community gardens who rely on volunteers to keep their gardens blooming. Here are just a few examples. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more info about local garden volunteering opportunities in Lewisham.
This article was written by El Coombs, who spent a week volunteering with Lewisham Local and Rushey Green Time Bank as part of her employee volunteering scheme at work.