Grab a spade! Can you help bring the Kambala Community Garden back to life?

Hidden between Hicks Close and McDermott Close on the Kambala Estate is this overgrown communal garden. Last week I was shown round by local residents who have decided to bring this area back to life.

We agreed to meet again in the garden on Saturday, August 11 for a green-fingered day of fun and work – with volunteers from the community, gardening charities, the council and the local Labour Party. Can you join us?

Residents in the Kambala Community Garden

Residents in the Kambala Community Garden

Please contact me if you would like more information. If we club together we can emulate the wonderful work of the Doddington Estate community gardeners, who have brought a large, derelict public space back into use over the past year. Every weekend parents, children and pensioners enjoy the Doddington garden – and take home herbs and vegetables to eat!

Last year I helped to secure a £5,000 grant for the Doddington Community Garden from the council. Read the full story of How riots, carrots and Twitter got £5,000 for the Doddington Community Garden.

I discovered the Doddington Garden – by accident – last August.

The Tuesday morning after the Clapham Junction riots, I joined the ‘Broom Army’ to help tidy up the town centre. I invited several local mothers along and we joined hundreds of residents with gloves and bin liners. As a spontaneous group of volunteers, we had no leadership until Heather, a ‘social media guru’, and James, a helicopter pilot, decided to take control of the situation; they directed our efforts with confidence and good humour for the rest of the day.

The following evening I was in the public square on the Doddington Estate in Queenstown, discussing with local shop-keepers how we might respond to the riots. The mothers from the riot clean up arrived and climbed a metal staircase up to the roof above the shops. I asked where they were going and they invited me up to the Doddington Community Garden, a green space about the size of a football pitch that had sadly fallen into disuse after years of anti-social activities. They took home a good crop of carrots that they had grown in a small part of the garden, much of which was still overgrown or unkempt.

I tracked down Heather online and asked if she would encourage the Broom Army volunteers to help with the community garden that weekend. She spread the word via Twitter, determined that the incredible spirit of the Clapham Clean-Up should be translated into good works in the community with a ‘Dig for the Dodd’.

We had no clue how many people, if any, would turn up. In the event dozens of people people came, the sun shone and a local firm pledged a ton of topsoil! Images from the day are here and a video is here.

Heather with Simon at the Wandsworth Civic Awards where her inspiring leadership after the Clapham Junction riots was recognised with a special award

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