The campaign to open up more of London’s gardening space is finally gaining momentum it seems. A few weeks ago, the London Vegetable Garden received news that building sites left dormant by the recession are to be turned into temporary allotments (see the article here). Needless to say, this is fantastic news for London gardeners fed up with having nowhere to grow their own vegetables and plants.
London gardeners have further cause to celebrate today however, with Wandsworth council and Age Concern teaming up to unveil a fantastic new London gardening scheme. The premise is simple – adopt an elderly person’s garden and help to maintain it. As well as helping elderly residents to enjoy their garden for longer, it also presents space-challenged London gardeners with a garden to work on.
Age Concern’s Sarah Jackson states that:
“Managing the garden can be a struggle for older people. At the same time, there are many people without access to outdoor space who really want to garden. This scheme will help to bring unused garden space back to life and improve the well-being of everyone involved. We've had a huge response already and are busy vetting volunteers and gardens — it's a bit like a matchmaking service really.”
Obviously, this scheme has been extremely well received by London gardeners desperate for a plot to cultivate, but especially so amongst elderly Londoners, many of whom want to enjoy a nice garden, but aren’t able to maintain it on their own.
As positive as this news is, it also serves to highlight depressing statistics for London gardeners on allotment waiting lists. Wandsworth actioned this scheme in an attempt to ease the 1,500 people that are waiting for its 607 allotment plots. And with Camden and Islington residents facing waiting times of 40 years and 25 years respectively, this story serves to show just how desperate a situation London gardeners find themselves in.
Wandsworth council deserve to be praised – although we’re a long way from giving Londoners the gardening space they deserve, this new scheme shows that local governments are starting to recognise the severity of this problem and are taking small steps to remedy this – long may it continue.
(The article that this blog entry was based upon can be viewed on the Evening Standard website by clicking here.)