St Martins Garden Nhg

13 May 2024

Growing our communities – residents gardening group at St Martins estate

We’re so proud to support this fantastic initiative at St Martins estate where the gardening group has brought the community together. 

The group was formed back in 2020 with the support of St.Martin’s Residents Association by Jackie Crawford, a Notting Hill Genesis leaseholder and Annalisa Premoli, who lives on a part of the estate run by Metropolitan Thames Valley (MTVH).

They got funding and help from Incredible Edible Lambeth to start with. They then won grants from Lambeth Council, the Mayor of London, Near Neighbours, and Brockwell Live to create a garden from a disused part near the South Circular Road, now called Huggins Corner. With the grants they employed Urban Growth to remove the tarmac that was covering the whole area, create paths and plant wild flowers with the help of the local community and schools.  

Thanks to their efforts Huggins Corner is now a thriving hub with benches where residents can spend time. They even did a project with school kids to spray paint the walls and bollards to add even more colour. 

We along with MTVH and Southern Housing also gave a contribution which will pay for Huggins Corner maintenance over the next couple of years. 

Of course it didn’t stop there, and the group continued to apply for funding to transform other parts of the estate. They got plant boxes and gardens for Challice Way and as other residents saw what they were doing the number of volunteers grew. They now have compost boxes where volunteers can take their food waste which will then be used to grow seeds.     

Local councillor Saleha Jaffer lives on the estate and is one of the volunteers. She’s avid gardener who helps as much as she can.  

Jackie and Annalisa say the kids on the estate have actually been the most involved. They even have an award winner in their ranks – Milena, who last year won young gardener of the year at the Incredible Lambeth awards. She is 14 years old and has been one of the most enthusiastic volunteers, helping Jackie and Annalisa with suggestions for future projects and getting involved whenever she can on weekends and after school.    

Some of the food being grown includes potatoes, kale, green beans, Cavolo Nero, tomatoes and strawberries. They also have an orchard where they’re growing apple and pear trees. Jackie mentions how even kids who claim to not like fruit and veg love helping themselves to the crops that they grow.  

The garden has made a huge difference to both the aesthetics of the estate but also the bio-diversity. Jackie notes that they’ve had a huge amount more insects in the area (they’ve even added in a bee hut) as well as birds such as Goldfinches.  

St Martins is run by three housing associations – Notting Hill Genesis, MTVH and Southern Housing. The garden has been a significant part in making the estate feel more connected and the group are looking at events they can do to get more residents involved.  

We have been, and will continue, working with these other organisations along with Lambeth council to provide as much support as we can. We have seen how incredibly important the garden is to the community and the incredible effect it can have on residents’ lives.