There are no inmates now from the hospital in the project, but there are strong links between the two organisations and the trainees maintain flower beds in the hospital grounds. Several trainees have developed their horticultural skills to the extent of achieving horticultural qualifications – the NVQ levels 1 and 2 in work-based horticulture and plant production are taught in the garden. Some have also found work outside in gardens. The project has developed extensive propagation facilities – there are two working polytunnels and a new, soon to be heated, large glasshouse. The trainees have a history of selling their produce locally to a neighbouring allotment (The Beatrix Potter allotment), and they also undertake a variety of external commercial work in Wandsworth and Roehampton. The fruits of their labours are also turned into delicious jams and pickles by their sister catering project in Battersea. This is definitely the place to come for buying jars of chutney and plants at bargain prices during the Open Garden Squares weekend of June 8th and 9th. Herbs, vegetables and annuals were already starting to sprout in anticipation when I visited.
The community links of SHARE are impressive. It’s a Capital Growth Project and modern training outfit with links on Facebook and Twitter. Nearby lies Streatham Cemetery, where the Friends of Streatham Cemetery have established five beehives. So SHARE are busy building raised beds, which will be planted up with bee-friendly plants for the bees to forage. And, as well as gardening, the trainees have been out and about to their local college, South Thames College, to raise awareness about disability.
SHARE Community Garden on a warmer day
Visiting SHARE Community Garden »