Phipps Bridge Community Garden was established by Sustainable Merton, in collaboration with the National Trust, Merton Abbey Horticultural Society, Merton Council and the local community.
Creating the community garden was one of Sustainable Merton’s first major ventures, and it continues to be a flagship project for us!
The allotments, owned by the National Trust and run by Merton Council, were largely abandoned and strewn with refuse in 2008. Six were released to Sustainable Merton in October of that year.
Over the next nine months, some 40 volunteers spent over 1,000 person-hours hacking down brambles, removing rubbish and installing drainage. Raised beds, a fruit cage and a shed with a reception area followed.
We started teaching local school children about the joys of growing fresh organic produce. We offered mini-plots to local people to give them an opportunity to learn at first hand what it means to be an allotment holder, sharing our tools and pooling their knowledge with us.
In 2009, Haslemere and Benedict primary school children would attend weekly gardening sessions (funded by Merton Education) to teach them about the joys of growing fresh, organic produce. Children from Cricket Green School have also attended weekly summer sessions in the past.
The local community has been involved throughout the project and has contributed their time and skills, as well as donations of recycled wood pallets, compost, tools, and much, much else. Partly thanks to Sustainable Merton’s involvement, all the allotment plots are now occupied on the wider Phipps Bridge Allotment site.
Work on the community garden continues every Wednesday and we are always looking for new volunteers to join the team. You don’t need experience or any special tools – just some old clothes, sturdy footwear and a willingness to get stuck in!