• Norwood Forum

2022/23 Community Grants Scheme

The recipient projects of the Norwood Forum's 2022/23 Community Grant Scheme are now either finished or coming to an end, and on this page we celebrate their fantastic achievements.
The purpose of this grant is to enhance the wellbeing of people who live, work or study in our community - West Dulwich, St Martins, Knights Hill and Gipsy Hill wards.
We received 17 applications and made 11 awards, one of which subsequently had to withdraw.

For more background on this annual funding scheme, please follow this link

Scroll down to read all about:
Carnac Street Community Garden
Friends of Norwood Park Community Garden
Girls Mindset Confidence and Self-Esteem Club (GMCSE)
Deronda Estate Gardening Club
Inclusive Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair
SLBI Connects (South London Botanical Institute): A Bzz Garage Gravel Garden with Open Orchard
Reports to follow on:
Effra Pottery at The Portico
The Stitch
Live Again Singing Project
Holderness Way Communal Gardens Revival 

Carnac Street Community Garden
Flowers, herbs and plants have taken the place of fly tipping, with the creation of the Carnac Street Community Garden. 
Local resident Willem set up the garden with support from Lambeth Council in December 2020. He has transformed a neglected corner into a beautiful green space with beds of plants and flowers and wooden seating. It has become an open meeting space for neighbours, there is colour throughout the year and no fly tipping anymore. 
“The Community Garden has truly regenerated and improved where we live. Everyone loves it and the children at the local school adore the sunflowers when they come out,” he says. The garden helps the environment and has become a place for pollinators and birds to frequent, something not seen before.
Willem and a few of his neighbours maintain the garden and are keen to add one more bed in an empty space. It costs about £600 a year to maintain, and Willem used the Norwood Forum small grant to pay for compost and bark.
Want to find out more?
The Community Garden is managed by a group of residents of Carnac Street working to improve their neighbourhood by creating and providing a community garden.
If you would like to see wonderful photos of the garden across the year, or get in touch with Willem to help out, check out Carnac Street Community Garden on Facebook: www.facebook.com/carnacstreetcommunitygarden

Friends of Norwood Park Community Garden
As spring arrives, the Friends of Norwood Park are bringing their garden alive.
They have used their Norwood Forum small grant to revive the garden in the park for the 11 households who each have a small plot – local residents most of whom have no gardens of their own and want to grow veg.
The garden brings together a diverse group of neighbours, including young mums, single people, older people, people with disabilities, south Americans, Portuguese and one couple who've lived in the area for over 50 years. The garden builds connections, says one of the Friends and gardeners, Katie. “When you’re working in the garden, it’s back to how it used to be, people talking to each other.”
Want to find out more?
There is a waiting-list for garden plots and the Friends are hoping to expand to an adjoining space to put in seating and plant herbs for everyone to pick.
They would love to attract new Friends and members (who pay a tiny subscription of £5 a year) and are particularly keen to find a volunteer who is social media savvy.
If you would like to donate or get involved, you can get in touch via email: friendsofnorwoodpark@aol.com.
Find them on Instagram for pictures of the garden: www.instagram.com/friendsofnorwoodpark/

Girls Mindset Confidence and Self-Esteem Club (GMCSE)
‘Hey Confident Child’ is the signature poem of a group of 14 girls at the GMCSE Club. “Be what you can be, do what you can do, learn what you can learn, and tomorrow your nation will be what you want it to be.”
The GMCSE is a weekly gathering for a diverse group of 7-13-year-old girls at the Emmanuel Youth Centre on Clive Road. Through videos and discussions, art, role-play, singing and dancing, the girls explore what it means to be confident in themselves. Club Coordinator Nadeen says that it’s all about self-esteem and how we grow it. She has seen the girls grow in confidence, and as a result do better at school and at home.
At the club’s talent night, Delia, one of the mums, said the GMCSE club was “safe and bubbly and full of warm people”.
Having started out in Nadeen’s front room, the club has quickly grown from 5 to 14 members. One of the girls, Adama, who sang a solo at the talent night, said that “you get to do lots of activities and it’s inclusive”.
Want to find out more?
Nadeen, with the support of the Emmanuel Church, is determined to continue the club, and would welcome new volunteers and funding – to enable her to bring in outside speakers and trainers or take the girls on trips. She has used the Norwood Forum small grant to fund the talent show, books, games and snacks, as well as ‘confidence stars’ which encourage the girls to think positively about themselves. Get in touch with Nadeen by email: mathlink2001@hotmail.com 

Deronda Estate Gardening Club
George ‘reclaims’ trees.
He is the Chair of the Tenants and Residents Association (TRA) of the Deronda Estate in Tulse Hill and is working hard with fellow members to make the estate a better, greener place to live. Over several years, he has moved trees from gardens where they are no longer wanted and planted them across the estate to add shade and greenery.
With the Norwood Forum community small grant, George has planted a Gingko Biloba tree (commonly known as a maidenhair), a tree which has been around since the time of the dinosaurs. “It is a good street tree,” George says. “Hardy, drought-resistant and with good biodiversity benefits, it supports many different insects.”
Want to find out more?
The TRA has worked closely with Lambeth Council to support the planting of eight new street trees on the estate. George says there are always ideas for new planting projects and plenty of flowerbeds on the estate ready for attention. If you can support his work in any way, please contact him via derondatra@gmail.com

Inclusive Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair
In December 2022, Norwood Forum were delighted to attend to one our community small grant recipients projects in action - the inclusive Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair run by Neurodiversity Learning CIC in collaboration with All 4 Autism and Autism Thrive Services. More than 30 people enjoyed an evening of card and hand made gift making, a raffle, Christmas music, hot drinks and mince pies - and lots of glitter! All run in a safe and inclusive space for everyone.
Want to know more?
Please get in touch with Navedia Young at Neurodiversity Learning CIC: info@neurodiversitylearning.co.uk
Website: neurodiversitylearning.co.uk/ 

SLBI Connects (South London Botanical Institute): A Bzz Garage Gravel Garden with Open Orchard
Focusing on Aim 1 of the funding (building social connections between different groups), The South London Botanical Institute (SLBI) has worked for the first time with local organisation Open Orchard, a group based in West Norwood that connects communities through gardening and planting sessions.

The West Norwood Bzz Garage is a community growing scheme managed by Open Orchard where they create bee-friendly habitats and food growing spaces along the high street. Part of this garden was a wildflower meadow that suffered badly throughout 2022’s long, dry summer that had record-breaking high temperatures and a hosepipe ban. Open Orchard decided to try something different in response to this (and given the predictions of more hot summers to come, due to climate change) and approached the SLBI for advice and guidance. We thought this was the perfect opportunity for us to work with a new organisation and use our Community Grant.

We decided that we would work on a gravel garden together and approached Beth Chatto Gardens (a drought-tolerant garden in Essex) and RHS Wisley Gardens for advice.  A gravel garden is a low maintenance, drought-tolerant garden that can tolerate high temperatures with very little watering. It lends itself to Mediterranean-style, drought-tolerant planting which is also ideal for wildlife (providing nectar and pollen for visiting pollinators). We wanted to create a model garden for the community as an example of the type of gardening and planting you can do as our summers become hotter and drier. It would also be less work for the Bzz Garage volunteers to maintain, use less valuable water over the summer and contain pollinator friendly plants that will hopefully last a number of years and not perish next summer.

Feedback from Open Orchard volunteer Saoirse Clohessy, “We’re very fortunate that the Bzz Garden is a lovely sun trap, but the heatwave proved too much for our attempted wildflower bed. The amount of water needed didn’t sit well with us, so we decided to transform the area into a drought-resilient gravel garden, hoping to inspire others to do the same. SLBI were the first organisation that came to mind to help with plant knowledge and potentially assist with the cost, and we were thrilled with the advice and financial support the project received. Because of the fund, we could afford a variety of plants specifically designed for the process we were using, and we’re looking forward to seeing the garden in its full glory in the summer. We plan to use it as an education piece in the form of a sign that will direct to a dedicated web page, as well as some guided tours when the plants have established. We all have to do our bit as the climate changes, and we hope this gravel garden inspires others to choose sustainable options as well.”

Want to find out more?
This has been a multi-organisation project involving the SLBI, Open Orchard, Norwood Forum (grant money paid for the plans), S2S BID (who donated the gravel) and The Portico who very kindly agreed to take delivery of the gravel until it was needed. We have learnt from each other and enjoyed working on this project immensely, building a lasting relationship which I hope we will continue going forward. See the weblinks below where you will find all their various social media contacts:
SLBI: www.slbi.org.uk/
Open Orchard: openorchard.weebly.com/
Station to Station BID: stationtostation.london/
The Portico: www.theportico.uk/