How does it work? Keeping E5 10xGreener

10xGreener is an experimental approach developed by Friends of the Earth to tackle the challenge of making our towns and cities greener, wilder, healthier places to live in.
  Published:  18 Oct 2019    |      4 minute read

Where did this all come from? What’s happened so far?

In 2018, following a number of events on Daubeney Road, London E5 to develop a community vision, residents in E5 crowdfunded enough money to hire the UK’s first ever "postcode gardener", Kate. The postcode gardener role is designed to create stability and a central point of ownership for 10xGreener in the community. Their job is to maintain and increase greenery in the neighbourhood by building community engagement – running greening events, sharing skills and knowledge, and doing some of the crucial work to keep your greenery going.

Kate has been working since November 2018. In that time she’s run a number of greening activities such as tree planting, de-paving and support with making front gardens nature friendly, planting around pavement trees, along street margins and a ‘rain garden’, bulb-planting and seed-sowing workshops. Kate has also led a project to create an anti-pollution garden on the Linzell Estate, working alongside tenants and running a weekly gardening club in summer.

We’ve seen great signs of progress since we first started. But nature takes time to really flourish. We’re only just starting to see the results of our work in 2018, and impacts from work done in 2019 will only be really visible in 2020.

The original crowdfunder raised enough funds for 300 hours of Kate’s time. Some amazing work has been done – but we want to see even more impact over the next year, and we need your help to make it happen.

So how does this actually work?

From our very first workshops with Daubeney Road residents, we identified maintenance over time as the key barrier to successful community greening projects. In the last year, we’ve met with dozens of community gardeners, funders, local authorities and passionate volunteers who’ve all reinforced this message – it’s really hard to keep initiatives like this going in the long term.

That’s why we want to try something different – a "subscription" model where anyone from the community can support the project regularly, giving as much as they want in the way that works best for them. Time and again, we’ve seen projects like this stumble when they have to make big grant applications or ask people for large lump sums every few years. We believe that if as many people as possible can give regular support to the fund, the whole community benefits from the stability this will give to the project.

What happens when I contribute?

90% of your contribution will go to our local delivery partner in E5 to support greening up your streets. There’s an immediate need for more of Kate’s time in the next year. The original crowdfunder covered one day a week of postcode gardener time for a year – we want to double this.

While more postcode gardener time is the priority, if we significantly exceed this target there are many other ways we'd like to grow the project, and we're in discussion with members of the community already about what this could look like. (See the "What happens if we get more than planned for?" section for some of the ideas we've been given so far!)

10% of your contribution helps the team at Friends of the Earth grow the project. We’ve been working hard to turn 10xGreener from a rough idea into something that could be replicated across the country. We want to develop more resources, guidance and support for our 10xGreener projects, and help more communities get their own postcode gardeners.

When will I know if we've secured enough funding to keep the postcode gardener going?

As we approach the end of Kate's first year in E5, we'll be taking advantage of the winter months to review what we've learned and build the vision and approach for the following year.

With enough contributions, the postcode gardener will get to work at the start of the new planting season in spring 2020.

What if we don’t get enough contributions?

Every contribution counts – but below a certain amount the postcode gardener role won't be financially viable. That being said, we're still really keen to see E5 become ten times greener, so we’re exploring other sources of funding, be that partnerships or collaborations, to boost the core community support.

If we haven't reached a point where we can maintain the postcode gardener, 90% of your contributions will still go to our local delivery partner to use for greening activity in E5 – and we'll let you know if that happens.

What happens if we get more than planned for?

Right now our priority is for more postcode gardener time in your community. But we have big ambitions for this project, which we’d love to be able to put into practice. We believe there are great opportunities for multiple postcode gardeners or training through apprentice postcode gardeners. And we’d love more community-organising support for Kate, plus there’s always possibilities for spending on plants and greenery. Other ideas include a regular greening/gardening club that moves about different locations in the catchment area, more support for front gardens, and more community events where residents can come together and celebrate their work.

That being said, this is your project – if we were to grow it at any point, we’d want your thoughts and input on what that looks like for E5, through the community forums that have helped develop the approach so far. You can find out more about the community forums and other greening events, share your thoughts and get involved via the 10xGreener E5 Facebook group.

I can't contribute regularly. Can I still be involved?

Of course! 10xGreener E5 is for the entire community, and we know not everyone will be able to support the project financially. There are many ways you can support your postcode gardener and 10xGreener in your neighbourhood – including taking part in events, helping spread the word to your neighbours and members of the community, and of course helping nature thrive in your own home, whatever that looks like.

Join the10xGreener E5 Facebook group to keep up to date with the latest events taking place in your neighbourhood. And email [email protected] to find out more about how you can help.

E5 is a large postcode. How do I know if my street is part of 10xGreener E5?

One postcode gardener can only do so much work, so the project is currently taking place within this area:

Map of E5 area covered by the 10x greener project

We’ll look for ways to grow the project as time goes on – but you can always stop by the greening events or take a walk through the streets to see the transformation taking place in our initial pilot.

I don't live in the area. Can I still contribute?

Absolutely. We want to support more pilot sites across the country, but until you have one in your postcode, you can support our existing pilot sites and help us show what's possible when people come together.

What happens if the project at Friends of the Earth stops in the future?

We think this is unlikely – as long as there's funding coming in, and the community are keen to keep their postcode gardener, we’ll be able to keep 10xGreener E5.

However, should the project at Friends of the Earth need to be stopped, we'll contact you to discuss options for your contribution.