Fifteen Years of Walthamstow Village in Bloom

The Bloom team is celebrating a milestone.

By Helen Lerner

The original Village Scrubbers back in 2003

Happy 15th birthday to us!

Back in 2003, Teresa Deacon and I arranged a spring clean in response to residents’ complaints at a WVRA open meeting. The Village was so grimy then – litter everywhere, fly-tipping, burnt-out cars, graffiti and every flowerbed and planter overgrown and full of rubbish. That first clean-up attracted 30 residents and we filled the Village Square with rubbish, including rusty motorbikes, carpet, tyres, shopping trollies and yes, the perennial dirty mattresses. Next came a graffiti removal day, with paint, cleaning products and lots of elbow grease – no council help with jet washers back then – it was no wonder that we gained the nickname of The Village Scrubbers…

Starting from scratch – the desolate Village Square before the Bloom team worked its magic

Next we organised some bulb planting and pruning – and that’s how the Gardening Club was born. Gradually we adopted more areas, gaining invaluable support from the council and our councillors, and making use of grants and help from our generous sponsors, including projects such as our BEE17 community beekeeping project, the Village veg allotment and the Chalmers House orchard. Our efforts continue to inspire others to improve their neighbourhoods, both locally and further afield.

We joined the London in Bloom family in 2008 and have won many Gold and Best London Village awards. In 2017  we achieved a coveted Gold medal in RHS Britain in Bloom and the Waltham Forest Community Hub’s Pride of the Village 2018.

London in Bloom 2018

We have entered the regional competition in the Small London Village category. Our judging day will be in the first week of July, with the date still to be confirmed. We are delighted that Cherry Close on Eden Road, led by the inspirational Gerry Clegg, will be entering the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category.

WVRA Gardening Club

Come and join the Gardening Club and help keep the Village beautiful throughout the year! We meet on the first Saturday of each month at 10.30am, usually at the Village Square, and then go on to tend the flowerbeds, tidy up, plant, prune and weed. Just turn up and get stuck in – we have lots of laughs, it’s good, healthy fun and you don’t need any special gardening skills. Plus you get to meet your lovely neighbours.

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