Food vouchers for the West Norwood Community Shop

Hidden away in West Norwood, behind the Vale Street recycling centre is our local Community Shop. This provides quality food at low prices to those who need it most. They do this by taking surplus food from manufacturers and retailers that would otherwise go to waste. The food is sold to members at up to 50% off the usual retail price. To join

If you care for a child or children and they receive free school meals, or you are on any means tested benefit, then the Community Shop is currently offering free £15 food vouchers per child, per week, for six weeks! To get your vouchers, just head down to the shop with proof of free school meal eligibility or your benefits.

The shop’s address is Vale Street, Gipsy Hill, London, SE27 9PA. If you have any questions please email communications@companyshopgroup.org.uk.

The West Norwood Community Shop

The Brixton Chamber Orchestra perform

The Brixton Chamber Orchestra put on a storming performance on the estate yesterday, playing music in a wide variety of styles: musical theatre, Argentinian tango, Irish dance, hip hop, classical, punk rock and more! The weather looked threatening, but the rain held off and the event was enjoyed by both residents and visitors from the wider area.

Thank you to Hugh Johnson for taking these photos.

If you missed yesterday’s event, you can still catch them later today at Cressingham Gardens Estate (2pm) and Lambeth Towers (5pm).

Summer children’s football coaching at Hillside Gardens Park

The Friends of Hillside Gardens Park will be holding their popular summer football coaching sessions again this year. There will be three weekly sessions with the first on Saturday 22 August at 2pm. There will be more sport, including football, at the annual Hillside Gardens Park sports day on Saturday 12 September. The sessions are free and open to all children aged 7 to 12 years. You can sign up for each session here.

Note that there was initially a session planned for 15 August, but that has been cancelled. Go to the Brixton Chamber Orchestra concert instead!

AGM – 8th September 2020

After a delay caused by the current epidemic, PRERA will be holding our AGM on Tuesday 8th September at 7.30pm. To comply with government guidelines to minimise the risk of infection, we will hold the AGM online using the Zoom conferencing platform. It should be possible to attend the AGM using most computers and smartphones that are connected to the internet.

To join the meeting click this link: https://bit.ly/2DZqAqU

Alternatively, you can join by telephone, by dialing 020 3481 5240. The meeting ID is 834 5775 4497 and the passcode is 550358.

We realise that not everyone will be able to attend, just as with the usual face to face meetings, so we apologise if this is the case for you. We invite everyone to submit questions for the current committee in advance of the meeting. Questions can be sent to contact@prera.org.uk. Please also contact us if you would like to get involved in the work of the association, whether as a committee member or not.

Antimicrobial treatment on play equipment

You may have noticed that some signs have appeared at the play area saying that antimicrobial cleaning agents have been applied. PRERA have made enquiries and have been told that a product made by Zoono was used. This is probably Z-71 – the product that Transport for London uses.

Please note that Z-71 is an antimicrobial agent and coronavirus isn’t a microbe. So please continue with good hygiene practices, including washing hands before and after using the play equipment.

Interestingly, according to the Daily Telegraph, Zoono was told to stop claiming that Z-71 was “more than 99.9pc effective against COVOID-19 [sic]”. This claim was removed from their website after the intervention of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The safety data sheet for Z-71 can be downloaded here.

Damage to community planting

Last spring residents brightened up Palace Road Estate by planting flowers, with support from Urban Growth.

Community planting event – 31 March 2019

The geraniums which we planted in the long bed at the entrance to Coburg Crescent, near Despard House, had been doing particularly well. There has been a fine display of green foliage and pink flowers this spring and summer.

Geranium sanguineum ‘Vision Pink’ – May 2020

In early August the geraniums in this bed lost their leaves and flowers and their stems were damaged.

Damaged geranium – 5 August 2020

The geraniums along the length of the bed were damaged in this way. The photos below from early July and early August are “before” and “after” images. In the “before” photo, geranium foliage can be seen along the length of the front of the bed; this was still present at the beginning of August. In the “after” photo, the geranium foliage along the front of the bed has disappeared.

The damage occurred on Monday 3 or Tuesday 4 August. A member of the Estate’s gardening group spotted the damage on the Tuesday afternoon. Pinnacle – the council’s grounds maintenance contractors – had been on the estate on the Monday to mow and strim.

Pieces of geranium foliage had been left lying in the bed. These demonstrate that the plants had still been in leaf when they were damaged.

Geranium foliage left lying in the bed – 4 August 2020

The gardening group co-ordinator has sent a complaint to Lambeth Council asking for an apology for the damage and replacement of the damaged plants. She has also asked for assurance that the council and their contractors will not damage other planting performed by residents. An update will be provided on this blog once a full response has been received.

Gardening group update: enhancing our estate

One of the gardening group’s aims is to brighten up the estate and the local area. Recently we brought a disused planter on Palace Road, outside Baly House, back into use.

In June we cleared the planter of weeds and self-seeded trees. We also broke up the compacted soil. Here are members of the group hard at work.

Then in July we put in the wonderful plants shown in the photos below. These plants were donations from Chelsea Physic Garden. This amazing garden, tucked away beside the Thames, is the oldest botanic garden in London. It contains a collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful and medicinal plants that have changed the world. It’s well worth a visit!

Many thanks to Nell Jones, the Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden, for passing these spare plants on to our community gardening group. Thanks too to Iain Houten, Marketing Officer, for helping to arrange for us to collect them.

Collecting the plants from Chelsea Physic Garden

Do you have further ideas for how the gardening group could brighten up the estate? Would you like to get involved? Do contact us at gardening@prera.org.uk

How to install a vegetable planter in 7 easy steps

In a previous post, we wrote about the gardening group’s ‘productive planters’. In this post, we look in a bit more detail at how the planters were installed.

Step 1: Choosing a good spot

We chose the area between the service road and Chalner, Despard and Ponton Houses. This spot gets good sunlight for most of the day. Lots of residents pass by and can enjoy seeing the plants grow and help to pick the produce. Also, several members of the gardening group live close by and can help with watering. We informed Lambeth Council, as the legal landowners, of our plans.

Step 2: Moving the planters into place

The planters were made by Farrans at the Resource Centre construction site with wood salvaged from the old shop. We carried them through the estate to their new home.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 3: Lining the planters

Next, we lined the planters. The material was kindly donated by Iain Houten from Mawbey Farm on Mawbey Brough Estate in north Lambeth. We used a staple gun to secure the liner to the planter.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 4: Knocking the planters into the ground

We knocked the planters into the ground using a very big hammer to ensure that they would be stable and wouldn’t move.

Learning point: The lining material started to come off whilst we were knocking the planters into the ground. When we installed two further planters the following weekend, we lined the planters after knocking them into the ground. That worked much better.

Learning point: The ground is very hard in this area of the estate and it was very difficult to knock the first two planters into the ground. We asked Farrans to make the next two planters with much shorter legs. That made this step much easier.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 5: Filling the planters with soil and compost

We filled the planters with soil which Farrans had given us from the Resource Centre construction site. We added compost on the top. This had been kindly donated by Pinnacle.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 6: Planting seedlings

Children from the estate, helped by their parents, planted seedlings in the new planters.

This child and his sister brought along these wonderful brightly coloured tools
Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Step 7: Watering the new seedlings

The children watered the seedlings after planting them. A team of residents from the estate is continuing to water the plants every day.

Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

Would you like to get involved with the Palace Road Estate gardening group? If so, do get in touch by email at gardening@prera.org.uk

Gardening group update: productive planters

At the end of June and in early July, the Palace Road Estate gardening group installed four planters in the grassy area between Chalner, Despard and Ponton Houses. We’re growing herbs and vegetables for local residents to harvest and enjoy.

The new planters in late July – the herbs and vegetables are thriving

The planters were made by Farrans who are building the Resource Centre on Coburg Crescent.

Cath from the gardening group collecting a new planter from Farrans
Photo credit: Deborah Ajia

We took soil from the construction site to fill the planters. Reusing materials in this way is good for the environment.

Rob from the gardening group transporting soil from the construction site to the planting area

Local children helped to plant herbs and vegetable seedlings in the new planters. The plants are being watered regularly by a team of local residents and they’re looking really healthy. Tomatoes, beans and squashes are starting to form and will hopefully be ready to pick soon.

Don’t these tomatoes look amazing!

Thank you to the following people:

  • Farrans for building the planters and providing the soil
  • Pinnacle for providing compost
  • Chelsea Physic Garden for donating white beetroot, purple sprouting broccoli and chillis
  • Iain Houten from Mawbey Brough Estate for donating a range of herb and vegetable seedlings
  • Incredible Edible Lambeth and the Capital Growth Community Harvest initiative for their ongoing support of the Palace Road Estate gardening group.

Would you like to get involved in gardening on Palace Road Estate? Or do you have suggestions which you’d like to share for improving our green spaces? Do contact us at gardening@prera.org.uk