Notting Dale: new gardening project to bring back nature
- A new ‘Postcode Gardener’ will work with Westway Trust and the local community to help green the area, offering more places to play, relax and reconnect with nature
Notting Dale in West London is set to benefit from a new ‘Postcode Gardener’ who will work with local people to encourage nature back into the area and support both wildlife and communities to thrive.
The new role has been secured as part of a nationwide scheme being rolled out by Friends of the Earth and The Co-operative Bank, which seeks to rejuvenate 1,000 neglected spaces across the country and bring communities with little access to nature closer to the health and wellbeing benefits it can provide.
The new Postcode Gardener will support the work of local charity, Westway Trust, which manages 23 hectares of land under the Westway flyover in London and has worked for more than fifty years to improve the lives and wellbeing of the vibrant community living close by. The trust’s dedicated gardening team will be bolstered by the new gardener who will both support their existing work and develop new ideas for greening activities.
Venu Dhupa, chief executive of Westway Trust, said:
“Without support and expertise from organisations like Friends of the Earth and The Co-operative Bank, we would struggle to roll out this kind of project, and people would have to organise themselves. By enlisting a Postcode Gardener, we can really bring people together to participate in activities that are joyful as well as useful to the wider community.
“I hope to see some of the neglected spaces within the postcode transformed into havens for people to relax, reflect and connect, and for wildlife to thrive. We look forward to bringing the new gardener on board and working together to better the local area.”
Westway Trust is keen to ensure the someone living locally to Notting Dale is appointed to the new role, which is currently out for recruitment. Once in post, the Postcode Gardener will work in close collaboration with communities and local organisations to deliver gardening projects that best serve the area. Activities may include things like revitalising existing planters, teaching gardening skills, growing fruits and vegetables and overseeing small, communal gardening plots.
Making green spaces accessible and inclusive will also be an important part of their remit, as well as managing a variety of competing local needs, such as creating spaces that foster play and imagination for children, alongside separate green areas for older people to relax and socialise.
Research from Friends of the Earth shows that one in five people in England live in nature-deprived areas, including a staggering 1.5 million children under the age of 12. Moreover, people of colour are disproportionately affected by nature loss, and are nearly three times more likely to live in areas with limited access to green or wild spaces. Notting Dale was identified as an area where the community would greatly benefit from a greener environment.
By reclaiming and nurturing public areas for community growing, it’s hoped the new Postcode Gardener can help to unlock the many advantages of greener neighbourhoods. Not only do they support wildlife to flourish and thrive - providing more habitats for animals and attracting much-needed pollinators into urban areas - they also help to reduce air pollution, a significant problem in Notting Dale, and protect communities from the impacts of climate change.
What’s more, nature is known to have a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Harnessing this potential to improve quality of life in the local community, by increasing access to green space and alleviating things like loneliness and isolation through closer community connection, will be a core focus of the new Postcode Gardener’s work.
Catherine Douglas, Chief People & Sustainability Officer at The Co-operative Bank, said:
“We’re so pleased to be partnering with Friends of the Earth, taking ground-breaking steps to help revive biodiversity in communities across the UK.
“We’re excited to watch the community benefit from the Postcode Gardener scheme and look forward to seeing nature thrive in Notting Dale.”
Rianna Gargiulo, Postcode Gardener programme lead at Friends of the Earth, said:
“It’s really exciting to be embedding a new Postcode Gardener in Notting Dale, which we’ve identified as one of the areas that would most benefit from this initiative nationwide.
“We’re thrilled to see our pioneering Postcode Gardeners programme expanding to new locations around the country with support from The Co-operative Bank, and to Notting Dale with our local delivery partners Westway Trust. Bit by bit, we hope to rejuvenate 1,000 depleted spaces nationwide, reconnecting communities with nature and each other.
“Making Notting Dale a little greener brings us one step closer to building the healthier, happier and more harmonious world we know to be possible.”
1. Friends of the Earth announced its new partnership with The Co-operative Bank in June. Together, they are embarking on a mission to bring back nature to 1,000 nature-deprived spaces across the country. To learn more please visit: Friends of the Earth and The Co-operative Bank join forces | June 2023
2. Friends of the Earth first launched its Postcode Gardener programme in 2018, embedding gardeners in two locations – Hackney in London and Bideford in Devon. Following the success of these pilot projects, Friends of the Earth and The Co-operative Bank are working together to roll out Postcode Gardeners at a number of new locations.
3. To read more about the Postcode Gardeners scheme, please visit: Planting more Postcode Gardeners to create greener streets