On Saturday, local MP Sadiq Khan joined local residents and the members of Mitcham Lane Baptist Church to celebrate the church’s new ‘Garden of Discovery’.
The fantastic new garden has been created on an area of wasteland to the rear of the building facing Penwortham Road.
The £140,000 project to create the new community garden - and make improvements to the adjacent church hall – has transformed an area of derelict land into a ‘haven in the urban environment’ that will encourage rest, exploration, natural play and greater awareness of environmental concerns. The garden is also accessible to wheelchair users and those of limited mobility.
The site was neglected for many years and had become an eyesore to the local residents. A local garden-designer planned the space, which has flower beds, planters, paths and seating. Its plants have been specially selected to create a calming and attractive environment all year round. A significant part of the project also involved reshaping the exterior of the adjacent community hall to make space for the garden and improve access and visual appeal.
Funding for the work came from several sources including The Veolia Environmental Trust and Western Riverside Environmental Fund who awarded grants of £32,652 and £23,000 respectively through the Landfill Communities Fund.
When it was planning the project, the church asked local people for their views. The response was very enthusiastic. Local ward councillors and Mr Khan also expressed support for the plan. Support has also come from groups regularly using the premises, such as the Totally Tots group.
Speaking about the completion of the work, the Reverend Phil Barnard says, “This project has been long in the planning and it is wonderful to celebrate the opening. It is great for the church to be at the heart of a project which seeks to renew the urban environment and we’re excited about how the Garden of Discovery will develop in the months and years ahead.”
Mr Khan MP adds, “It is a great pleasure to have been asked to be a part of the opening celebrations of the Garden of Discovery at Mitcham Lane Baptist Church and to see first-hand how this much needed investment has completely transformed the garden, from an uninviting eyesore, to a welcoming garden, open to everyone.
“A huge thank you to Rev Phil Barnard and everyone at Mitcham Lane Baptist Church, who have helped fund, and given up their time, to create this garden. I know local residents of all ages are going to enjoy using this garden for many years to come.”
Read coverage of this in the Wandsworth Guardian here.