Hard work and community spirit breathe life back into community garden in Hackney
22 Mar 2012
How much hard work and community spirit can you cram into one small corner of London on a chilly afternoon in March? 40 volunteers from Lakehouse, City and Guilds, and the Kings Crescent Estate know the answer.
On 16 March 2012 they joined forces in Hackney for the ‘Big Dig’, and spent much of the day moving 10 tonnes of top soil and 15 tonnes of compost from one end of the estate to the other, using just wheelbarrows. The hard work didn’t stop there, a total of 16 new raised beds were constructed from reclaimed scaffold boards, filled and planted up with a huge array of flowers, vegetables and herbs. Two of the beds were specially adapted to enable Sid, a much loved and well known resident who has recently become disabled, to once again enjoy his favourite hobby.
Lakehouse donated materials, soil and over 3,000 vegetable seeds to help provide a haven for all the keen gardeners on the estate, putting previously disused land, close to a Lakehouse site office, back to good use. The day started with clearing the deserted garden of rubbish, old brick debris and glass bottles, and cutting the grass in preparation for the event. The teams then shifted 25 tonnes of soil and compost by means of barrows, shovels and hard graft! Lakehouse’s Communities and Regeneration Director Gary Bruce, and Senior Contracts Manager Lee Wylie arrived in good time to spur the team on, praising them for their efforts and their commitment to Lakehouse’s mission to ‘improve lives by creating better environments in which to live, work and learn.’
The residents on the Kings Crescent Estate showed their appreciation by cooking lunch and cakes for the team to enjoy during their break. Sarah Bell, a member of the Kings Crescent Estate Community Garden said: “What a day! We are so grateful for your efforts in organising the work today, and for the generous donations of time and materials. It was a fantastic achievement and an enjoyable day with a great bunch of people. We were so impressed by the Lakehouse team’s hard work and cheerful outlook. Please pass on our heartfelt thanks.”
National Skills Academy
Work experience placements are a key objective for the National Skills Academy for Construction project in Hackney, and Lakehouse is committed to providing placements to students from the Borough. Muhammed Akbulut and Salman Mirza, both 17, live locally, and are studying Level 3 BTEC in Information Technology at a local sixth form college in Kenninghall Road. They were enjoying a two week work experience placement with Lakehouse’s Information Technology Department when the call went out for additional volunteers, and were glad to take part in the ‘Big Dig’ event in their own community.
Muhammed said: “It was great being placed at Head Office and gaining experience of how the IT department works. I was able to see how what I am learning at college is used in a work environment. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Big Dig because I live near to Kings Crescent and the residents told us how much the event will benefit the community. It was really hard work but I liked feeling part of the team, and seeing the transformation at the end of the day was really rewarding.”
The 'Big Cook Off' - July 2012
The team’s hard work will be rewarded by way of an invite to the ‘Big Cook Off’ event in late July, when residents will harvest the fruits of their labour and use their home grown produce to cook up a real treat as part of a cooking challenge which will be judged by a mystery guest and popular ‘foodie’. Lakehouse has been invited to return and compete by entering its own special dish alongside residents!