Community Gardens in Kensington & Chelseas
10 x 10, CBT, Big Lottery Fund & Westway Trust
Kensington and Chelsea
To improve health and well-being by reconnecting them with their natural environments.
Large numbers of people from London’s disadvantaged communities have become disconnected with nature. For example, RSPB research showed that 75% of young people in London are not connected to nature. Many Londoners, who live with a tiny balcony or window box, think that gardening isn’t for them; they may lack confidence, turn off the TV when a gardening show comes on, and rarely flick through a gardening book or talk about it with friends. However, even London’s most densely populated neighbourhoods include a variety of city microclimates such as balconies, terraces and small paved courtyards, and opportunities for people to connect with nature and help insects and plants to thrive. Our project will help fill that gap, providing an entry point for people to engage with wildlife gardening in their own homes along with connecting local community gardens, whilst also providing beneficial stepping stones for bees and other insects. As a study from the Design Council highlights: “People living in deprived urban areas recognise and appreciate the value of local green spaces, but they under-use the spaces that are most convenient because these spaces are often poor quality and feel unsafe. The study found, for instance, that less than 1 per cent of people living in social housing reported using the green space on their estate”.
To provide more suitable microclimates for pollinators.
London’s garden vegetation has dropped by 12% since 1998 due to changes in garden design and management; this has led to a loss in crucial forage for the pollinators which populate our city green spaces. “We think stepping stones are very valuable – a lot of pollinators forage over very large distances… lack of urban green spaces is a limiting factor… wildlife does move and will find local places and will move between them… this project will enrich London’s landscape” – B-Line lead for BugLife (conservation charity). During our 2017 pilot project, we achieved an improvement in the coverage of forage for pollinators through residents planting pollinator-friendly shrubs and plants in 70 locations through three community gardens, exceeding our original targets. Pollination by insects enables the reproduction of flowering plants and is critical to UK. Insect pollinators have declined globally, with implications for food security and wild habitats. The evidence in the UK is well-documented and the problem is not restricted to bees – for example UK butterfly and moth species have declined in abundance and range. 62 moth species have gone extinct since the 1960s. The London Biodiversity Partnership identified a total of 214 priority species that are under particular threat in London.