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Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Walthamstow Village in Bloom 2011


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Contents 1



Walthamstow Village in Bloom and its Boundary


Gardening Club


Adoption of Planters, Flowerbeds and Floral Display


Front Garden and Communal Areas Challenge


Beautiful Premises Challenge


Flower Planting in Vestry Road Playground


Village Square – Eden Road Project and New Planting


Plant, Seed and Produce Swaps


Our Green Spaces


Annual Spring Clean & Big Clean Up


Crime Prevention and Civic Pride


Bulb Planting


Fundraising and Awareness


Removal of Conifer on Green by Ancient House


RHS Away Day


Village Veg – Your Doorstep Allotment




Henry Maynard Junior School Community Garden


Vestry House Museum


St Mary’s


Sponsors and Credits



Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Introduction Walthamstow Village is an ancient nucleus of present day Walthamstow, located in north east London. The Domesday Book records that Walthamstow, at the time of the Norman Conquest, comprised four separate village settlements. The parish at the time was called Wilcumestou, probably Old Engish for the welcome place. The Village was designated a conservation area by Waltham Forest Council in 1967. At its centre is St Mary’s Church which was consecrated 900 years ago and a 15th century timber-framed hall house known as The Ancient House. From the 18th century the church common was encroached upon with the erection of the workhouse (now Vestry House Museum), the Squires’ Almhouses and the National School and other notable buildings, many of which will be seen in our tour of Walthamstow Village in Bloom. William Morris was born in Walthamstow in 1834 and the family lived locally and attended St Mary’s Church until 1856. The coming of the railway in 1869 generated a rapid population increase and the railway cutting created a physical barrier between the old village centre and the Victorian

development. With the houses came the shops and by 1877 Orford and Beulah Roads had become the shopping centre of Walthamstow. The relocation of the town hall from Vestry House to Orford Road in 1876 confirmed its status as the centre of Walthamstow. The Village was saved from disfigurement by the opening of the station at the Central which drew commercial development away and the relocation of the town hall to a new building on Forest Road in 1941. In 2003 the WVRA successfully campaigned for Retail Parade Status to be re-granted to Orford Road and it is currently thriving. The Village has a very distinct atmosphere with its quaint buildings, alleys and quirky streets, shops, pubs and restaurants and has a superb community spirit. Those living here consider themselves part of a very special area. Walthamstow Village in Bloom includes the Walthamstow Village and the Orford Road Conservation Areas and surrounding streets. It encompasses areas of the Hoe Street and Wood Street wards of the London Borough of Waltham Forest.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Walthamstow Village in Bloom and its boundary In 2003 Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association (WVRA) formed its Environment Committee in response to concerns voiced by residents at Open Meetings. The Village was in a terrible state so we organised the first of our annual spring cleans and started a monthly gardening club and have, over the years, adopted most public spaces and added more events to our calendar. In late 2008, as a reward for everyone’s hard work, we entered London in Bloom and in September, Walthamstow Village in Bloom, achieved a silver-gilt award and was awarded London’s Best Urban Community for the second year running. We are again finalists in the national competition RHS Britain in Bloom 2011 after achieving silver-gilt in September 2010.

We have not formally increased our boundaries this year but surrounding areas are being noticeably improved with residents further afield adopting flowerbeds, working on their front gardens and forming a Friends’ Group to care for the nearby Wingfield Park recreation ground. We are still 100% volunteer led but this year we have been invaluably assisted and supported by Waltham Forest council. Their wonderful Contracts Monitoring Officer Paul Tickner and his colleagues have worked with us in partnership and have been inspired by our success in improving the Village to enter Waltham Forest in London in Bloom and to initiate policies based on our ideas to improve the whole borough.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Gardening Club The Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association’s Gardening Club started in August 2004 to tend the garden on the corner of Eden and Orford Roads (later becoming the Village Square). We also maintain the adopted planters, flowerbeds, tree pits and any public spaces that require attention. We have a core group of stalwarts who turn up every month, come rain or shine. Before each gardening day a reminder email is sent to the 500 people on the WVRA contact list; some of whom come along if they are available and if they want to participate in a certain project.

Those who join in include families with children and people of all ages, abilities and from a variety of backgrounds. We have great support from the youth club of the Taoist Temple. We meet on the first Saturday of each and every month until May when we increase meetings on an ad hoc basis. We have a year-round list of activities that includes weeding, planting and pruning, litter-picking, painting out and cleaning off graffiti, repainting street furniture and clearing and cutting back vegetation from footpaths. We separate gardening waste and have installed a compost bin on the square. Volunteers bring their own tools and gloves and we are supplied with bags by Waltham Forest. All other equipment and items are funded by WVRA.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Adoption of Planters, Flowerbeds and Floral Displays Around the Village are several brick pavement planters that were an eyesore; the brickwork was damaged, the dense shrubs had far outgrown their situations, they blocked light and sightlines of roads and pavements and were a magnet for litter and fly-tipping and were providing cover for other anti-social activity. In 2007 Waltham Forest ran an initiative to enable residents to adopt a flowerbed. The WVRA funded the planting of six planters with another being sponsored for planting and annual maintenance by Fuller’s Builders, designed in their livery colours.



In 2008 WVRA adopted and funded the planting of the flowerbed on Vestry Green and local horticultural journalist, Martyn Cox donated thousands of bulbs to further enhance it. In 2010 we received a grant of ÂŁ6,740 from the Community Council to adopt, repair and replant two more dreadfully overgrown planters on Church Lane. This year we have replanted the Village Square (see pages 10-11).


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Adoption of Planters, Flowerbeds and Floral Displays (continued) Walthamstow is the birthplace of William Morris and, with this in mind, Graham Sherman of Outer Space Gardens has designed the planting for year-round interest in texture, movement and colour. Plants chosen are hardy and drought-tolerant and we are able to collect seeds, divide the plants and take cuttings so that we can sustain and maintain these beds and more. We have planted tree-pits with collected seeds and plants and those by the playground in Vestry Road are cared for by two younger resident volunteers as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award project.

The monthly gardening club and Graham have a year-round programme of pruning, dead-heading, seed-collecting and weeding and we use no herbicides or pesticides and only organic feed. We divide and take cuttings from established plants. The beds are mulched to suppress weeds and retain moisture and, in times of drought, we put out a plea for residents to collect their ‘grey’ water to use on them . Waltham Forest kindly supplies and maintains the lamppost baskets with summer and winter displays.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Front Garden and Communal Areas Challenge 2011 Influenced by our success in improving the residential street-scene, in late 2010 Waltham Forest launched a borough-wide Filthy Front Gardens campaign and has cleared over 500 front gardens and rewards its residents with a Best Kept Front Garden Award which was won in April at the Love Your Borough award ceremony by our 2009 winners Mr & Mrs Martin of 9 Church Lane; the runners-up were Mr & Mrs Meigh-Andrews of 59 Beulah Road!

On 26 March the Front Garden Challenge 2011 was launched to encourage residents to participate in Walthamstow Village in Bloom. 2000 booklets containing an entry form, information, news, our aims and some encouragement and advice were distributed within and around our in Bloom boundary; another booklet is delivered in June. We encourage residents to use peat-free products, to use water wisely, to compost garden waste and to garden organically.

All entrants receive a certificate of participation and are invited to our own little awards ceremony at the WVRA AGM and we choose an overall best entry for nomination in the London in Bloom Front Garden Award. In 2010 we had over 50 entries with Don Mapp’s garden at 47 Maynard Road winning overall. Don’s garden was featured in the April edition of RHS The Garden magazine.

News Love You r Boroug h aw

In my opinion Claire Thomas

Go Gree n school work

Secretary - Waltham Forest Bilingual Group Sunday 26 September is European Day of Languages. People all over Europe will celebrate all the languages from around the world that are spoken on our continent. Over 20 per cent of people in Waltham Forest speak a language other than English to a very high level, and Waltham Forest Bilingual Group estimates that over 300 languages are spoken in the Borough. This means any children living here have the potential to grow up speaking more than one language. Being multilingual brings many advantages – to the children, to our community, to our economy. However in many cases due to a lack of information, commonly repeated myths or a lack of support, parents choose to speak to their children in English and children either never learn or quickly lose a second language. It used to be thought that speaking more than one

“English is a powerful and popular global language, but that doesn’t mean that we should needlessly jettison other languages.â€? language confused children. Parents often think that if a child speaks a language other than English at home, they will fall behind at school. These beliefs have been shown to be false, and research has demonstrated that multilingual children who are born in the UK or arrive when they are very young do at least as well at school and in fact consistently outperform monolingual children in certain thinking tasks. English is a powerful and popular global language, but that doesn’t mean that we should needlessly jettison other languages. The English ďŹ nd it hard to imagine speaking several languages well, and many people believe that monolingualism is normal but, in fact, more than two thirds of people in the world speak more than one language. Fortunately in today’s climate, this is not an issue where we are talking about needing to spend money. Parents will do all of the work and can teach their children languages if they can just be given a tiny amount of advice and support, and if we can change the outdated negative attitudes to multilingualism. We now have a Deputy Prime Minister who himself has multilingual children. Perhaps ďŹ nally this is the right moment for a major shift in attitudes. We should take this opportunity to debunk the old myths once and for all and ensure that we retain all of the languages that we are lucky enough to have in our community.

Want to have your say? If you live or work in Waltham Forest, have something you’d like to get off your chest, and can do it in around 300 words; Waltham Forest News wants to hear from you. Email the Editor at: and tell us what you’d like to write about.

• Schools


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y by holdin g fundra events that have suppo ising Go Green the ‘Redu award, our rted ce, and staff philosophy. Reuse, Recycle’ have worke pupils really hard d Walthamstow whole schooThis has been a on School for to raise mone the project has begun has utilised l scheme that Girls a two year the varied of the devas y for victims to suppo of childre tating oods rt the Pakist project n, staff and talents Pakistan in ood relief an community. the local last year. project. They are workin “The headt g What they eacher decid in the area to build links the said: schoo ed and have l should School Busin a consid get heavil involved erable amou raised y in raising Helen Cham ess Manager nt of money for victim berlain s of said: “It is fantas Floods becau the Pakistan tic to win the a large Pakist se we have in the schoo ani population l and we children have here Walter and families were whose Beatrice Martin’s affected. beautifully tended front “We wante garden d to help those people less fortunate ourselves than and we decide • An indiv this should idua be a signiďŹ c d project so front gard l, group or busi ant we could ness that en get involved more colo or balcony mak has impr in how the money oved their is spent and ing Walt urful boro ham Fore watch the ugh progress. Winn st a gree We also er ner, want it to be somet Walter and hing educa Walthamstow Martin for tional character the Beatrice the Go Green School for Girls such as rebuild in garden award best kept front Martin staff were award a school delighted and Wally’s . Unfortunatel ing or provid to win the couple front garden y ing Helen Learn another type were unable consistently looks attend the beautiful Walthamstower, of establishme of educational ceremony to season. Its in every personal due to nt.â€? Village wonderful Residents’ commitment displays give seasonal Association, s. nominated and interes year-round colour What they Walter and t and the said: Beatrice Martin work very Helen Learne hard to ensure s there is never r said: “Beatt that y a weed to seen or a be leaf out of place.â€? Walthamsto w Schoo for Girls l

Don Mapp won WVRA’s best front garden category for his lush garden

Village best in bloom • Residents’ Association scoops London-wide horticultural award • Success thanks to hard work and community spirit Walthamstow Village residents are celebrating after winning a prestigious London in Bloom award for the second year running. The Village won the award for best urban community at a ceremony hosted by the City of London on Friday 3 September. They also received a ‘silver-gilt’ award for their efforts. The Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association (WVRA) prepared for the competition, which was judged in July, by holding a number of local challenges.

Village residents, businesses, restaurants and schools competed for the best oral displays. Vestry House Museum garden was awarded best community garden, Trattoria La Ruga won the best pub or restaurant display, I Kuan Tao Temple triumphed in the best business display category and Don Mapp of Maynard Road won the best front garden award. The WVRA also encouraged residents to keep the village looking good by organising clean ups, having social and fund-raising events and

swapping plants and seeds with each other. Helen Lerner, of WVRA, told Waltham Forest News: “It feels fantastic to have won the award for the second year running. The fact we received full marks in the community participation section of the award is testament to the hard work people have put in and the great community spirit we have. “I’d like to thank everyone who was involved. The award is for everyone who worked so hard for our success.� WVRA now awaits the

results from the Britain in Bloom ďŹ nals, to be held in Birmingham on 29 September, where they are up against nine other urban communities. Keep an eye out for future editions of Waltham Forest News to ďŹ nd out how they did.

More info

Best ke pt

For information on Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association visit www.walthamstow Free internet access is available at all libraries in the borough.

Editor: Jenny England

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Waltham Forest News Waltham Forest News wants to hear from people in the local community. If you have a story that you’d like us to cover, email walthamforestnews or call 020 8496 3000.

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Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Front Garden and Communal Areas Challenge 2011 (continued) We have gardens in Brunswick Street and Maynard Road that open under NGS. Following our work at the flats on Grosvenor Rise East and in Church Lane, we were also approached by residents in Wingfield Road and helped them improve their communal garden by providing a work party of WVRA volunteers and plants donated by local residents.

We have a large number of sheltered and alms houses in the Village and they have all entered the challenge.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Beautiful Premises Challenge 2011 We launched the Beautiful Premises Challenge 2011 on 26 March and leafleted all businesses, schools, organisations, and religious and community groups within our in Bloom boundary. The leaflets contained an entry form, information, news, our aims and some encouragement and advice and also ways in which businesses may wish to help by sponsoring a display or making a donation; another leaflet is delivered in June.

All entries receive a certificate of participation and we will choose overall best entries for nomination in the London in Bloom Business Premises and Pub and Restaurant Award. Last year our overall winners were the I Kuan Taoist Temple at the Old Town Hall and Trattoria La Ruga. Vestry House Museum is again entering its wonderful garden and was our overall winner in 2010 and our nomination for the London in Bloom Community Garden Award. Henry Maynard Junior School is also entering their pupils’ fantastic community garden. yg








Walthamstow Village in Bloom


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Flower Planting in Vestry Road Playground

On 27 March to launch our entry as Walthamstow Vill Village lage in Bloom 2010 and to celebrate the United Nation’ss International Year of Biodiversity, we ran a free children’s ldren n’s workshop planting sunflower seeds. The children took their ook th heir On 2 April we ran a free children’s workshop pots of seeds home with instructions planting cottage-fl ower seeds. The children on how to grow and took theirthem. pots of seeds home with instructions nurture

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On 4 June the children returned with their seedlings to Vestry Road Playground to plant them along the serpentine flowerbed. The plants were labelled with their name and the children promised to return to water and tend them. It was clear that some of the children had never planted anything before so it was a perfect opportunity to talk to them and help them discover the joys of growing plants from seeds and to explain about the science of plants. Others had attended our workshops before and were proud to show off their planting skills. The flowers will cheer up the playground and give the children a sense of pride and ownership of their recreation area. They will attract bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects and their seed heads will feed the birds in autumn.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Village Square – Eden Road Project & New Planting It started in 2003 when, fed up with the appalling state of the garden on the corner of Orford and Eden Roads, the WVRA Environment Committee ran a gardening day to weed and clean up the area. There was no bin, the benches were broken and often inhabited by street drinkers and the beds were full of weeds and rubbish and were being used as a toilet. In 2005 we were awarded a Living Spaces grant of £3,970 for a bench, a bin and a notice board. Residents and a local builder supplied all the labour. A second bench was donated by a family in memory of a resident.

Since 2005 Waltham Forest has donated a Christmas tree and lights and the WVRA holds a carol singing event that is attended by 300+ residents. The notice board is well used by local groups and residents. The Square is also used for craft events, the Plant and Seed Swaps and by the Safer Neighbourhood Team for their crime prevention stall. It has become one of the focal points of the Village and is a pleasant place in which residents and shoppers can meet or sit.

Each month we carried out a different job and these activities led to the birth of the WVRA Gardening Club; we still use the Square as our meeting point.

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Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Village Square – Eden Road Project & New Planting (continued) In November 2010 we were awarded £2,862.50 by our Community Council to replant the Village Square and really make it beautiful. In December the gardening club cleared the beds and drastically pruned back the overgrown shrubs and in February we spread tonnes of compost to improve the soil. The flowerbeds have been beautifully designed and replanted by Outer Space Gardens to match the other areas we have adopted. We have dedicated a rosebush to the memory of Janice Tildsley, one of our chief sponsors and a staunch supporter of our activities, who very sadly suddenly passed away at the end of 2010.



Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Plant, Seed and Produce Swaps

Packets of collected seeds are given out to children and people bring their surplus seeds, plants, pots, produce and gardening equipment to swap. Graham answers gardeners’ queries and identifies plants. Vegetable seeds are also swapped and we have made leaflets with food-growing advice. Free workshops are held making window boxes and insect houses from reclaimed wood and bamboo and children are shown how to plant seeds.

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In September 2010 we expanded the event to include a produce swap and, as part of the RHS Dig Together Day, we were joined by RHS’ Sophie Dawson for an article in their Autumn 2010 Growing Communities magazine.

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We held our fi rst Plant and Seed Swap on the Village Square in March 2009 to encourage residents to improve their front gardens, window boxes and planters, and to raise the profi le of our In Bloom campaign. It was such a success that we now run Plant and Seed Swaps every spring and autumn.


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Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Our Green Spaces Being an Urban Village every green space is most important. The largest is the ancient St Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Churchyard. We are now in close consultation with the church groundsman Tim. The churchyard is spread over more than three acres in which there are about 1,300 monuments (the oldest dated 1710). There are over 26,000 burials, of which more than 16,000 since the mid 17th century are recorded in the registers.

The deep railway cutting is home to much wildlife and we liaise with Network Rail to try and keep it as nice as we can.

We and the church do a lot of work to keep Vinegar Alley clean and tidy but leave the native plants and wildflowers to encourage wildlife and to give the path a woodland feel. We have sown thousands of seeds and planted bulbs along the length.

Vestry House Museum garden has a wonderful wildflower area.

There is a small enclosed wildlife area in Vestry Road and last year we erected bird boxes, insect houses and created woodpiles. We have been given the thumbs up by a pair of bluetits who have, this year, brought up their family in one of the boxes.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Annual Spring Clean & Big Clean Up We launched Walthamstow Village in Bloom 2011 on 26 March with our 9th annual clean attended by over 60 people of all ages, abilities and from a wide variety of backgrounds. Residents were also joined by members of Clean Up UK, council officers and operatives from contractors Kier and JB Riney. We and members of our local Taoist Temple laid on a picnic lunch on Vestry Green for all volunteers. This year, as a direct result of our example, Waltham Forest held their first borough-wide Spring Clean with 44 cleans taking place, of which we were one, involving 1,500 volunteers. It all started in 2003 when the newly formed Walthamstow Village Residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association (WVRA) Environment Committee ran its first spring clean. The Village was in a terrible state and many complaints received at Open

Meetings were about litter, graffiti and the piles of rubbish and fly-tipping that had been accumulating in every nook and cranny, path and alley of the Village. Over the years the rubbish collected has become markedly less so we have added gardening and painting street furniture and junction boxes to our list of tasks. Now when someone dumps something or graffiti appears it instantly stands out and we encourage people to report items immediately to Waltham Forest Direct so that it is dealt with before it becomes a problem. The Spring Clean is a very satisfying and enjoyable event and has helped instil pride in the area; it gives everyone a chance to work together, meet their neighbours and improve the Village. In June we hold a similar Big Clean Up to spruce up the area before judging.


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Crime Prevention & Civic Pride Walthamstow Village is a quaint area that has many old paths and alleys and a large churchyard. Unfortunately, over the years there have been spates of muggings and robberies and even a murder that have taken place in these areas. On the advice of the Metropolitan Police the Gardening Club carries out work to “eliminate recesses, blind corners and hiding places” and remove graffiti. i.

Work includes: cludes: • clearance of churchyard and Vinegar Alley sites in March and down Beulah Path in May by the Community Payback Team • clearance by Waltham Forest of the giant Leylandii from the green adjacent to The Ancient House • removal of graffiti and fly-tipping and maintenance of verges in Vinegar Alley • removal and painting over of graffiti on walls, signs and street furniture • reporting, and encouraging residents to report lighting defects and street problems to Waltham Forest Direct • reporting fly-tipping and graffiti on the railway embankments to Network Rail • cutting back of vegetation blocking sightlines and pathways • running anti-dog mess campaigns • liaising with property companies to ensure signs are removed within two weeks of let or sale We also: • attend Ward Forum meetings held by councillors to ensure residents’ voices are heard. • consult with Waltham Forest and attend their meetings re planning, transport, environment, rubbish collection, cleansing etc. • hold open meetings for residents to voice their concerns and feedback • attend Waltham Forest Street Watchers meetings • liaise with Clean Up UK


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Crime Prevention & Civic Pride (continued) Last autumn we were informed that our dedicated PCSO, Russell Gillingham was being moved to another ward and residents launched a successful campaign for him to stay; he knows everybody, keeps an eye on elderly and vulnerable folk, deals with any problems, has moved on the street drinkers, encourages responsible dog-ownership and attends our events.

Our friendly street cleansing operative Cecil works hard to keep Village streets and alleys spick and span. We work closely with our ward councillors, Waltham Forest and Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, who lives locally, joins in activities and is a staunch supporter of In Bloom.


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Bulb Planting In 2003 Waltham Forest, through the Pride in Waltham Forest campaign, supplied community groups with spring bulbs to brighten up their areas. The Environment Committee applied for crocuses and daffodils to plant in the Village Square. Since then we’ve held a planting event every year and thousands of bulbs have been planted throughout the Village area. In 2010 we received crocus bulbs supplied by the Council via the nearby Organiclea group and the WVRA funded 500 February Gold daffodil bulbs. On 6 November we planted them in the newly adopted planters in Church Lane. Our Megan Whitear again donated thousands of snowdrops ‘in the green’ and planted them along Vinegar Alley. Local horticultural journalist Martyn Cox donated his free, sample bulbs for Vestry Green.

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Fundraising and Awareness The WVRA has an Events Committee that arranges a year-round programme of events and fundraisers. The Annual Garden Party in the Museum garden in July attracted over 1,300 residents and is our main fundraiser. A craft market is held on the Vestry Green, there is music and Pimm’s on the lawn, a barbeque, stalls, games, activities and a raffle. In November we hold our Annual Curry Quiz in the Welcome Centre. The 120 tickets are always sold out and a home-cooked curry supper is served and a raffle held. The Asian Centre kindly let us use their hall free of charge for Open Meetings and our AGM. This year the ever-popular Apple Day, held in the Vestry House gardens, will be organised by WVRA, Organiclea and the Hornbeam Centre.

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Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Fundraising and Awareness (continued) We hold social events such as a tea dance for our older residents.

Association website and a Walthamstow Village in Bloom Facebook group.

Local businesses donate money, or goods or vouchers for raffles or to use at events.

We apply for grants via our Wood Street and Hoe Street Ward Forums that replaced the larger Community Council.

Three times a year WVRA produces a newsletter or booklet that is delivered doorto-door to two thousand properties locally. WVRA has an email list of over 500 residents and community groups who are sent details of what’s on. The notice board on the Village Square is kept up to date with posters and information. We send press releases to our local newspapers and TV press desks before events and we were featured on ITV London News on the Britain in Bloom judging day in August 2010.

We are members of Volunteering England and are featured on their website in the Inspiring Stories section. We have close links with, amongst others, WF Civic Society, Walthamstow Historical Society, the Drive Housing Co-op, Organiclea, the Hornbeam Centre, E17 Art Trail and WF Literature Festival.

We have been approached by the producer and have applied to host Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time in St Mary’s Church.. We have a Walthamstow Village Residents’

● ●

Follow on Twitter Contact us

Accessibility Options

Helen Lerner - RHS

Helen Lerner is the organiser and chair of Walthamstow Village in Bloom. She began her involvement in a bid to improve the local community and environment with other local residents. From humble beginnings, they have gone on to achieve great success, winning London s Best Urban Community 2009 and 2010. In 2003 I attended a public meeting organised by the Village Residents' Association and listening to complaints about the local area regarding fly-tipping, litter, grafitti etc, I realised that together we could do something about it so I volunteered to chair an Environment Committee. The London Borough of Waltham Forest is a wonderful place to live and the council is very supportive but it has an awful lot to do with not much money. We decided to band together to work and over the years have adopted and maintained public areas and fundraised and been awarded grants to re-design and replant these areas. I was born into a volunteering family so it is second-nature to me - I can't remember a time when I wasn't involved in something via our synagogue, schools or connected charities. My own children (Tom 23 & Josh 19) are also keen volunteers and have been all their lives; they can muck-in and turn their hands to almost anything. I organise and chair Walthamstow Village in Bloom and the Environment Committee of the Walthamstow Village Residents' Association and run the monthly gardening club and the events connected with these roles. With my fellow committee member Teresa Deacon I co-ordinate a band of cheerful and willing volunteers; the youngest is two and the oldest is in his eighties! At our annual Spring Clean we get around 60 volunteers. Our annual fund-raising garden party attracts 1,300 residents. I spend most evenings doing admin, grant work and preparation and once a week doing gardening unless there's a big event coming up when I'll be busy Apart from the end results of improving and making our local environment beautiful our volunteers benefit from the friendship and achievement brought about by working together towards a common aim. When we decided to enter London in Bloom in 2009 a few residents were very negative and scoffed at our ambition but we showed them when we won London's Best Urban Community 2009 and again in 2010! You can let your imagination run riot and plan and organise all sorts of weird and wonderful things. When you work as a team, everyone has different ideas and skills and together you can do so much and make such a difference - it's amazing! One day you can be washing up for hundreds or scrubbing graffiti off a wall and the next attending a dinner at the Guildhall! You can choose to do anything that interests you and join in with a group or instigate something yourself - the possibilities are endless. There are always people, groups and projects that need helpers. I love working with people and organising events. I can't bear sitting around - it seems such a waste of time when one could be doing something interesting and useful. I wish I didn't have to work and could do volunteering work all the time .

Around the UK, hundreds of thousands of volunteers get involved in improving their local areas as part of the RHS Britain in Bloom and RHS It s Your Neighbourhood campaigns. Find out more and see what you can do locally (linking to - Read other inspiring stories from environmental volunteers Site by Cubik © Volunteers' Week, 2011 ●

Site Map


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Removal of Conifer on Green by Ancient House The gigantic Leylandii on the corner of Orford and Church End has at last been removed. It had been deemed by Waltham Forest’s Tree Preservation and Nature Conservation Officer as unsuitable for the long-term on that site. It was planted in 1990s by residents as a Christmas tree and had totally outgrown its space. Following a crime survey report in 2008 that recommended its removal, the council did some interim work to remove the lower branches to stop the area being used as a hidey-hole. In the meantime the tree continued to grow ever higher, blocking out light and not allowing anything else to grow there and we have been pushing for its removal. Many thanks to Waltham Forest Council for getting this work done. After consultation with Waltham Forest and Mathew Pottage the RHS’ tree expert, a singlestemmed Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) has been chosen as it is historically in context and inspired William Morris’ design Arbutus. In autumn we plan to plant a perennial meadow to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 2012 Year of the Meadow.



Walthamstow Village in Bloom

RHS Away Day On 12 April we were honoured to be chosen to host the RHS’ Community and Development Team’s Away Day where 22 employees had a chance to get ‘under the skin’ of an In Bloom group. Some volunteers came from RHS gardens as far afield as Harlow Carr in Yorkshire and Rosemoor in Devon; some from Wisley, Hyde Hall and the offices in Westminster. Helen and RHS’ Stephanie Eynon planned and organised the day’s programme with threeand-a-half hours being dedicated to the work. Teresa gave an informative presentation, Helen talked about the work and health and safety and the volunteers had their own presentations too.

In consultation with Waltham Forest’s Conservation Officer and St Mary’s groundsman and with tools borrowed from our and Vestry House Museum gardeners we tackled the long-overdue job of clearing the heavy growth of ivy from the Grade II listed wall of the old Georgian estate The Walnuts between the churchyard and 9 Church Lane. Flossie and Roger of The Nag’s Head kindly let us use the pub throughout the day as our ‘hub’ and for a catered lunch. We cleared over a hundred sacks of green waste that was kindly taken away for composting by Waltham Forest. The day was deemed hugely enjoyable, productive and a complete success.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Village Veg â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Your Doorstep Allotment With some front gardens being unused or neglected in the Village and so many residents on the waiting list for an allotment weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re matching the two! If residents are unable to care for their front garden or have no interest in gardening and would be willing to let their neighbours use it or if they would like use someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s garden for this purpose they contact us and we get them together. Growing food has so many benefits and is a great way of slashing the shopping bills. Graham has produced vegetable growing information leaflets and we provide seeds at the Plant & Seed Swaps. Many residents are using their front gardens to grow food and they look great! We are seeking a coordinator to expand this exciting project.



Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Recognition n

Issue 25, 9 August 2010

Volunteers dig in

Cllr Chris Robbins

â&#x20AC;˘ Community Service Volunteers puts not-for-proďŹ t groups in touch with companies seeking volunteering opportunities

Leader - Waltham Forest Council

Volunteers in Leyton were able to put the old saying â&#x20AC;&#x153;many hands make light workâ&#x20AC;? into practice

recently when they were joined by employees from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

Overseeing the work were four members of the Friends of St Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nature Reserve, who volunteer

Cllr Reardon with the Friends of St Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nature Reserve

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their time tending the historic churchyard in order to make it more visually appealing and improve the site as a habitat for a surprisingly diverse array of ďŹ&#x201A;ora and fauna. The Friends were partnered with PwC by Community Service Volunteers, an organisation that puts local charities and non-proďŹ t organisations in touch with businesses keen to pay a little back. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a superb idea and the work theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve done will really be appreciated by the local community,â&#x20AC;? said Steve Williams, chair of the friendsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; group. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At the moment there are 11 of us who work on the site every Sunday from 12.30 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4pm, but weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re always on the lookout for more people to help out.â&#x20AC;? Also in attendance was Waltham Forestâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cabinet Member for Leisure, Arts and Culture, Cllr Geraldine Reardon, who told Waltham Forest News: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always great to see people going out of their way to make their local community a better place, and the Friends of St Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nature Reserve are a great example. Their hard work has made a real difference and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d encourage anyone feeling similarly community-spirited to join in and lend a hand.â&#x20AC;?

More info If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to get involved with the Friends of St Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Nature Reserve, contact Steve Williams on steve. williams1000@ntlworld. com or 07834 195417. If you think your charity or friends group could beneďŹ t from the work that Community Service Volunteers do, visit or phone 020 7278 6601.

Cllr Chris Robbins with members of the Walthamstow Village Residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association and Britain in Bloom judges

Every day, residents in our communities do inspirational and selďŹ&#x201A;ess things which lift your spirits and restore your faith in human nature. This week I was invited to Vestry House Museum by the Walthamstow Village Residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association for the judging of the Britain in Bloom competition. Through their dedication and hard work the people living in Walthamstow Village are ďŹ nalists of Britain in Bloom 2010, and I was privileged to meet them and the judges who will be marking their entry. Since their formation in 2003, in response to concerns voiced by residents at open meetings, the residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; association has done a huge amount to improve the quality of life in the area. They have organised annual spring cleans, adopted public spaces and set up a gardening club to maintain adopted trees, ďŹ&#x201A;owerbeds, tree pits and public spaces. Speaking to people at the event at Vestry House showed just how dedicated and committed this band of people are to their community and we are extremely lucky to have them living in our borough. The Council has been working with this community and we would like to extend this into other areas. The attitude of working together and improving neighbourhoods is something we should applaud and encourage. There is so much a group of volunteers and the Council can do when we work together hand in hand. I hope Walthamstow Village Residents Association is celebrating when the results of Britain in Bloom are announced later this year.

Get involved Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to hear from you. I have a page on the Council website where you can ďŹ nd out how to contact me, visit for more information. Free Internet access is available at all libraries in the borough. You can also write to me: Leaderâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ofďŹ ce, Town Hall, Forest Road, Walthamstow, E17 4JF.


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Walthamstow Village in Bloom

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rtunities the oppo d n . a n e gard presents ing that it rn a s le r e fo ll the b d f belling a o la ts n re a a it e •W inhab hasis ames of rti p ltu n a e ga u p m e c th e f th f o rti o to h o re h it e w rkhous ut and plants a spired o o e y w in y la r y d is e r n tr n s u e e e •O eV st. Gard the form e gard n with th ral intere ting of th rkhouse garden. onnectio orticultu c h e The plan o w th a ts n s l pla tory a ilding. ed am on usefu by its his House bu r who is a qualifi il ry mphasis lunteer te es to flourish a e o n v n li e a a e u te c h is , n T s u lu rb There a he tr c ontin etable • A vo reparing garden c r fantasti fruit, veg plants. p r u g e u o is y in f t O d s d o li d lu a lp n c in sa team herb the he ers. The icinal herb land bed, gravel n. ring thanks to n and med n volunte o d e o for childre olunteer is prepa m iti o rd d a d w g a a f d e o o In b . ls m a v u a m a r d is s tu e te n u n a ome There for m e area • Anoth on sheet thering m tings the team . meadow a s ti d g a ie il is w rfl rm , e fo d tt be a t bu an in mee to attrac to do extr monthly page on designed rtnightly a former y to d r visitors fo e e c ft ts n a e e ng a web ated e d ri ti e e m a b p m x re w re a c e o e n n re re th is o , edic • We a Each bed f the workhouse g with m nd mentoring use site d gardenin to ga estry Ho rest. in V h te e c a in a th o o e c g ls inhabitan ta rden. members s. Thursdays are a vely g the heri f to the ga increasin acti cruit mixture o re re a a e w e e id W n v . y rest to pro rop-in da ity use um • We aim d educational inte regular d ew members and ges Commun bers to the Muse n a c n ti n e ra g n ll o m a iti u h , aesth n ru it c rt r w re in pa n Visito d. rest lunteers rise due larity to u p e year roun continuity of inte lcome vo o u e p n w ti g n co re ntinuin en o c . e a y milies, t it th a il fa b • To ensu nts with evergre by to of a oubt, ace for unate th d p rt s la ru a fo p s d ly w a n e a g n njoy. rde kale xtrem we gro arnin of the ga chool groups to e 00 We are e ng adults with le ouse h as curly alance of c u s e g s a d foli you rkh er 24,0 in a b adults an team of e 247 Ma in e mainta racted ov th ls tt a d a m of u n e o n te n fr w a s r to chard. W e nd ekly roportion Last yea disabiliti s. l plants a me in we nificant p The garden o c ig lp s e e a h tr perennia vegetable varietie , n d e rs n n. es a visito Road C h to eople the garde ble patch addition rea is planted wit e vegeta om used factor for many p h th w . to y a d e l e ti th r n g e jo n y a rd ri it a e m n g ff • A grav o mu is also a keep the of thyme lti-sensory e the Com parties, varieties u ing to us m g s o a in o r d h lu c fo c . y it rs . vents in ng e ri r u opportun erience for visito vated Sustainability s fo n ceptions e m re o Ro itted to ulti exp edding c m g w f l m o in d o n e ta c rn a c n a n s e re le ala onm We a function intain a b rease the e in envir s • We ma st practic Some of the way inc e b to s a re a ility. and wild mber of Events sustainab are by: sted a nu garden, is o th h e re v u a s h the We we en compost events in a highly our own ccessful g d u – s n in y a k a s a D d M o le • eth ing App rganic m of everyth s – als including n ic o m ti e h ra • Using o c b f le le o p e p e c a s r u la to e u th pop nected hed to n c o u c avoiding g to garden n in n u areas d anyth sociatio g n s a in A v ’ a ts e L y n e it • rs esid ing a e biodive utterflies and the R ear we are plann brate encourag ct b y ra ele is c tt h , a T to n . y e to y g part n part ur gard • Plantin rs’ garde e from o erbs . e c s u te m d n a ro lu te p o v ur • Using s and h work of o vegetable the hard including n educatio tion and ng to focus on ta re rp Inte rti we are sta tation of the re This year rp te in g the enhancin

Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Plan gement a n a M includes . rvation o e s ls n a o d C y n a e al surve - Natur orks strategy e r w o o b r t a s dw a full ltham ryʼs Wa is of our groun d a map with a M t S The a an e bas nd faun a orms th f a r 7 o 9 fl 9 1 y of ced a surve commen a map, nd work

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oving ance a mainten systematically m d n ll ve bee slowly an hole site until a there ha rs d w a n utine e e a y ro y th t in the rass, iv across d g In recen e , d s d lu e c e in re process the en w areas we e schedule; this times wh ve overwhelmed s c n a h tena ntain bramble hyard co ; main t complete. he churc d graves T n os . a s lm s e a b v is m ra g ” ds of to . re d d n te s u all waste sort li h many rade II ompost c G re “ a re to a s e d v b e a a s h e yet t tom We h four of th importan o-year have not nning to t d s n o a m y c e li tw o la Whilst th part of a ars ago, p urning. We are p on two sites tored as ye ays to b b w n fe e a d were res o rk rial t wo me of wo e of the other construc ompostable mate post program m o s c f in a g com ition o to conta rating as istributin o d the cond ri a to te e w d ie , bs is trees aterials in with a v early tom t damage from waste m g in p . e n e o n w ro shio and k result of of ivy and self-so nd tidy fa trolled a ss n re o g c in e th is stored s. ed wood t for n ru p r seedling o All fallen s to act as habita ver the o 0 k ile 1 o 0 to 2 iels in woodp nds in Tim Dan the grou f o t . n to a e n n fau managem an 18 month pla tate of native ut e growth ble s a th e e e g g a n ra and set o a u spared th We enco would em to a m they are o s rs return th ne maintenance e . w le e ssib wild flo uti n averag rever po where ro mer whe quired. O one day re im tr is s t a ing g bird be all th g installin man work ear. The n e ri n e o id is s n y o there t the We are c es and starting roughou of the at box a week th ehind and south b d n a tb rate e. areas jus subject to a sepa ncap a beehiv e re M a in areas h h it w t c Churc a sections tr n d o te c a e c c o n d ll a a northorte mainten We have Alley and wild”. s of supp rk as a r m a a g e te in e v V o ave “ the w who ha north of urch to le l include vity. dertake h ti n C c u a e l to th fu f s g adult cy ” wil eanin west o t rass poli tic and m g u g e n p lo at presen , ra “ e th This site and b l to ru ta t h c s to je f e b o dens as su 10-15% ves; ve much e le site w ra a o g W h h t s . c w a li le e b re h re a T de bram these ken and s over and many bro f self-seeded tree from ground c areas into e y d iv il w o e g s in th d eiv w rk re ro a d g n hu en to m each rec e site, oft rge trees were plan that will th ts d rs lo re a -p e e b la y tt u li st four four s a large mbs. Mo ce every within to h ivy growth and s and rance on basis. There will to a le c ri it w deb tional erness infested concrete on a rota corridor of wild nd. In of litter, u t ro n a a u e o n areas to b w m d s a as stre ing wil alway s g w in n a d li o m p o a re s w e . th fallen -seeded ve freely connect re r the self als to mo growth a im n le a b particula m w o ra ll a is nsive b and the out as it and exte e Church latively ing to dig on. th m d u n s u n o ro pois kept re time-c Areas a ot to use ntre are n e y C nd c e li o m p o our ht-lines a Welc urch prove sig ing the public gle by Ch im n ia to r tr a e s u cle ed in th rowth, r people e We start ring unwanted g g isibility fo open vistas of th v in w o a le m c / g to in d m n a End by im s path d then str h month debris an ired length. Eac g Church. in o s g e n d ived o e c grass to re s a d are the cleare


Walthamstow Village in Bloom

Sponsors and Credits • The Vestry House Museum, Lorna Lee, Vicky Caroll, the staff and the volunteer gardeners and 247 Group for all their hard work, for use of their wonderful premises for hosting the judging days and for the lunch provided. • Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association Committee – funding projects and support • Fullers Builders – sponsorship of planting and annual maintenance of the planter on the junction of Beulah and Grosvenor Rise East • Spar Village Stores – sponsorship and profits from the sales of Eat17 range of jams and chutneys. • Musa Ballikaya and the staff and committee of the Asian Centre • John Chambers Plumbing & Building Services – sponsorship, mulch, van, tools • Abbey Lithographic – printing and scanning • Outer Space Gardens – Graham Sherman • Lisa Peachey – portfolio design • Ray Yates, Sarah Vincent, Paul Gasson, Teresa Deacon, Jamie Orchard-Lisle, Don Mapp & Helen Lerner – photographs • London Borough of Waltham Forest and contractors Kier and JB Riney and especially WF Officer Paul Tickner – equipment, rubbish disposal and green waste composting, compost, floral lamppost baskets, extra cleaning etc. • Cllrs Saima Mahmud, Mark Rusling & Ahsan Khan and MP Stella Creasy for support and promotion of events. • I Kuan Taoist Temple – hospitality and refreshments on gardening and clean up days. • Flossie and Roger for their hospitality and use of The Nag’s Head as a hub for the RHS Community & Development Team’s Away Day • Liza Sumpter, LBWF Community Project Coordinator for support and help with the grant. • Guy Osborne, LBWF’s Conservation Officer • Nick and Sarah Trivuncic, Paul Gasson – poster design • East London Sausage Company – donations of products for events • La Ruga Trattoria, The Village Deli, Village Kitchen, Orford Saloon Tapas bar, The Nag’s Head, The Castle, The Village, Mon Dragone Restaurant, Petals in Bloom, Sean Pines, The Queen’s Arms, Penny Fielding’s Beautiful Interiors – for raffle prizes • Our apologies to all those who have helped or donated items that have been missed off the list above, or donated after the portfolio went to print. Walthamstow Village in Bloom Committee Helen Lerner, Teresa Deacon, Graham Sherman, John Chambers Walthamstow Village Residents’ Association Committee Paul Williams, Ray Swingler, Shameem Mir, Helen Lerner, Paul Gasson, Sue Carter, Sarah Vincent, Megan Whitear, Gordon Harnett Monthly Gardening Club Stalwarts Helen Lerner, Teresa Deacon, Graham Sherman, Ivan White, Megan Whitear, Colin and Bonnie Stinton, Yvonne Cross, Paul and Sophie Gasson, Don Mapp, Nicole and Joss Thomas, Jakob Hartmann, Daniel Barry, Marion Osbourne, Maggie Brundle, Susanna O’Brien, Josh Lerner (tea boy and help in the hols). And to all the good folk who live, work or play in Walthamstow Village: for their remarkable community spirit, encouragement, support and enthusiasm for Walthamstow Village in Bloom.


Walthamstow Village in Bloom


Walthamstow Village in Bloom Portfolio 2011  

In September 2010 Walthamstow Village won London in Bloom's Best Urban Community for the second year running. We are again finalists, repre...

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