The South London Botanical Institute (SLBI) has just been awarded £15,295 from the Mayor of London’s ‘Grow Back Greener Fund’ to carry out community planting along Norwood Road, Norwood High Street and on Norwood Works, Lambeth’s largest industrial estate.
The Institute, based in Norwood Road, Tulse Hill, has received the grant in partnership with the Station to Station Business Improvement District, which serves almost 500 businesses within the Tulse Hill and West Norwood area.
‘Pavement Plants for People’ is a project that will transform many grey pavement areas of the high street into a greener environment to be enjoyed and cared for by the local community, who have little nearby access to open space and nature. The educational community project will include:
– adding ‘depaved’ plant beds, planting areas of pavement with beautiful, pollution tolerant (and sometimes edible), wildlife friendly plants;
– incorporating SuDS/’rain gardens’ that reduce local flood risk;
– planting trees & shrubs in painted oil drums around the industrial estate.
The aim is to provide a greener, cleaner space that improves the physical/mental well-being of local residents, improves air quality, increases biodiversity, creates important wildlife habitats and helps combat climate change.
Planting will be done by school children and other local community groups, organised by the SLBI Education Team, helping people to learn gardening skills, environmental knowledge and the importance of plants. An education trail will be created and information boards will explain the project, ensuring lasting impact.
The SLBI was founded in 1910 by Allan Octavian Hume, a dedicated social reformer, with the aim of bringing botany to the working people of south London. This aim continues today, with people from local communities and further afield able to explore the plant world, enjoy the botanic garden, library and herbarium (subject to Covid restrictions!) and participate in a wide range of educational activities for all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability (many of them now online).
Commenting on the grant, Caroline Pankhurst, SLBI Education & Project Manager, said: “This is such a great opportunity to work with our local communities of Tulse Hill and West Norwood in making the high street a better place, not just for local people but also for the environment. We already welcome many local people into the SLBI so are really happy that we can now take our work outside on to the local high street. We look forward to working with Station to Station, Lambeth Council and local community groups and schools on this very exciting project.’
The project will be match funded by both infrastructural support from Lambeth Council and a commitment to maintenance from Station to Station and its businesses, with work taking place between now and September 2021.