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Community projects get a sweet deal

Community projects get a sweet deal

November 6, 2017
West Acton residents community gardening group, which is overseeing the creation of the Cherry Tree Walk

“A local space that involves the whole community in producing organic honey together with grapes, apples, pears, plums and cherries from a heritage orchard.” That is the aim of the latest community project to be given funding by the council’s Transform Your Space initiative.

The Horsenden Grape and Honey Farm has successfully crowd-funded £33,000 to turn the idea of producing organic honey for the local community into a reality – with more than £10,000 of this being provided by the latest phase of Transform Your Space.

Joseph Mangar, of the Horsenden Allotment and Garden Association (HAAGA), which is managing the farm project, explained: “With the generous help of Ealing’s Transform Your Space initiative, alongside the Mayor of London’s Crowdfunding campaign, North Greenford ward forum, Ealing parks and our local community, we have achieved our objective and raised the money to start this project.”

When complete, the farm will transform the current disused plot of land into sustainable area, producing organic honey all the way from seeds, through to bees, through to sale. Produce will be marketed to local schools and hospitals as a healthy and sustainable alternative to junk food.

Joseph added: “We will enlist the active Horsenden Allotment and Garden Association, schools, scouts and local community to transform this derelict plot of land.

“Our intentions are to build an access roadway leading to an educational facility for use by the community, local schools and scout groups. The main area is a south facing slope which needs to be cleared in order to plant vines and fruit trees lower down. This is a long term project but we aim to be planting the first vines by spring next year.”

The second project to secure Transform Your Space support is the creation of a Cherry Tree Walk in West Acton, started by the Hanger Hill Garden Estate residents’ association (HHGERA), pictured above. The initiative has contributed over £32,000 towards a £51,000 crowdfunding campaign to restore a rundown strip of land to its former beauty and heritage by creating a peaceful woodland walk and wildflower meadow.

“It has been clear for a while that our central reservation needed attention,” said Bill Bailey the HHGERA chairman. “But as more and more trees started dying, we faced a stark choice: leave the area to deteriorate into a pile of dead wood, brambles and ivy, or try to restore it to its former beauty.”

“Raising the money has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster,” added Kate Crossland, a member of the project team. “But it’s been great to see neighbours getting engaged with the plans, and we’re all excited to see the area looking beautiful again.”

Now in its third phase, Transform Your Space is a special fund that has been helping residents restore unloved corners and bring them back into community life. It has now supported 10 community projects, including Katherine Buchan Meadows in Old Hanwell and the Piggeries, a two-and-a-half mile stretch of fruit trees, both sides of the canal from Elthorne Park to Southall.

Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for transport, environment and leisure, said: “Congratulations to these two projects for engaging with the local community and successfully hitting their crowdfunding targets. I am really looking forward to seeing them come to fruition and take their place as gems of the local neighbourhood.

“Transform Your Space is all about helping the local community take control, turn their own great ideas into reality and get the best out of local spaces that are not fulfilling their potential.

“We have now supported 10 projects across the borough through the initiative and I’m really proud of the positive changes we have helped bring to so many different neighbourhoods.”

For more information go to the council’s Bubble website for community projects or email bubble@ealing.gov.uk.