The results of Lambeth Council’s community consultation in Streatham Wells have shaped a project to bring long-overgrown Sunnyhill Nature Garden back to life as a natural outdoor community and education centre. The project has received a boost with £15,144 Grow Back Greener funding from the Mayor of London.
The Garden is currently overgrown, but with many households in the area living in flats without outdoor space, it’s an important local resource. It’s also a site of importance for nature conservation with small nesting birds in brambles, woodland trees in a coppice in the northern corner and a hedgerow of native trees planted in 2014.
Local people are being invited to join the new Sunnyhill Nature Garden Umbrella Group, giving the community ownership and involvement in the garden, so everything develops from ideas in the consultation:
- A place offering contact and support: “Sunnyhill Road is almost like two roads due to the hill, so a project in the middle will strengthen community cohesion”.
- Access to nature helping people through the COVID-19 pandemic: “Feeling out of control, overwhelmed, scared, worried or unstable in lockdown all drive us to seek stability and reassurance. The quickest way is through nature.”
- An environment for nature and education: “A great opportunity to contribute towards introducing nature to my children while strengthening community bonds.”
To join the SNUG steering group contact Sunnyhillnaturegarden@gmail.com
Word from the Cabinet
Cllr Sonia Winifred, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Equalities and Culture, said: “The shared vision for Sunnyhill Nature Garden is to create a peaceful place for nature, gardening, volunteer workdays, vegetable growing, blackberry picking, school groups, and forest school activities, enjoyed and cared for by local people. I’m delighted that this is coming together and that local people have been so heavily involved.”
- Streatham Common Co-operative (SCCoop) will manage volunteer activity – creating a pond, meadow, paths, hedges, vegetable beds, re-establishing the apple orchard and more to encourage biodiversity. The first volunteer workday was Saturday, December 11, to clear brambles. The next will be January 30 – teaching people to lay hedges. Contact volunteering@SCCOOP.org.uk
- Sunnyhill Primary School, 100 metres away, has no green space and a partnership with the Nature Garden will help four- to 11-year-olds regularly access green space.
- Earthwild forest school will provide educational activities and design advice.
- Lambeth Council Parks Department now holds the lease and will support the community in building up Sunnyhill Nature Garden. For more information, email parks@Lambeth.gov.uk