We are thrilled and proud to announce that in 2017 Walthamstow Village has again been invited to represent the London region in the prestigious RHS Britain in Bloom UK-wide competition.
We are joining 78 other Britain in Bloom finalists competing to be crowned the cleanest, greenest and most beautiful Urban Community in the UK. This year we will be up against Aldridge, Walsall (Heart of England), Clifton, Bristol (South West), Didsbury, Manchester (North West), Littleover, Derby (East Midlands), Starbeck, Harrogate (Yorkshire), and Uddingston, Glasgow (Scotland).
There’s some very stiff competition but we’re determined that, with your help, we can show what makes Walthamstow Village so special and be awarded the crown of the UK’s best Urban Community with a Gold!
During the first fortnight of August we will lead RHS Britain in Bloom judges on a tour of the Village. The winners will be announced at the Britain in Bloom awards ceremony in Llandudno, North Wales on 27 October.
We will be competing too in the regional London in Bloom competition and the judging day will be in the first fortnight of July.
Watch this space for more news and updates, or check out our Facebook group Walthamstow Village in Bloom.
2016 Britain & London in Bloom
Following on from our Gold award in the regional London in Bloom finals in September 2016, Walthamstow Village was awarded a silver-gilt in the Urban Community category (joint second place with Gogarth, Wales) at the RHS Britain in Bloom UK finals in Birmingham! Kippax in Yorkshire got Gold, with the other three entries achieving Silver. So a fantastic result for us.
In the marking sheet, judges Martyn Hird and Glenn Dale said, “Walthamstow Village has certainly reached a high standard and once again the volunteers involved should be congratulated. The addition of many newly planted trees, seasonal planting and the planters throughout the tour give the whole Village a really welcome, feel-good factor. Those involved throughout the tour made the judging process a pleasure to undertake.”
Walthamstow Village is representing London as a finalist in the prestigious Britain in Bloom national competition and things are really hotting up to get the Village looking stunning. We’re competing against the Urban Communities of Evington in Leicester, Gogarth in Llandudno, Kippax in Leeds, Mancroft, The Lanes in Norwich and St George in Bristol.
We are so lucky to be part of this beautiful, vibrant and historical area and the Bloom initiative gives us a chance to show everyone what makes it so special and how a London area can have such a tremendous community spirit. We very much hope we can count upon your kind support; without getting too competitive, just imagine if Walthamstow Village was judged the UK’s Best Urban Community!
The national Britain in Bloom judges Martyn Hird and Glenn Dale will visit for three hours on Monday 8 August from 9.45 am. Results will be announced at the awards ceremony in Birmingham on 14 October.
On judging day Teresa will give a presentation and then we’ll take the judges on a two hour circular walking tour starting and finishing at the Museum. It would be great, if you’re local or in your front garden, if you would say hello or wave to us if we pass by, and give the judges a special Walthamstow Village welcome.
The regional London in Bloom judges Geraldine King and Martin Kalaher visited on Friday 15 July. We’ll find out how we did at the award ceremony on 21 September at Pembroke Lodge.
How you can help:
By making your garden, forecourt and outside areas look great. It’s not too late, if you haven’t already, to get planting and potting and to put up your hanging baskets. Please encourage your neighbours to join in too so we can make our area look fantastic and Green the Grey streets. If you’ve only got a concreted space, consider being creative with containers! And window sills, high and low, are great for boxes and pots.
On Judging Day, please ensure that your garden, pots, baskets and window boxes are looking their best, that boundaries, walls and hedges are tidy and that bins are neatly placed or tucked away.
It would help enormously too if you would see that the pavement or area outside your property is swept and weed-free. An area that is beautiful and cared-for is a credit to everyone involved. If you see signs of enviro-crime such as vandalism, graffiti or fly-tipping please report it to Waltham Forest Direct: firstname.lastname@example.org
2016 Bloom Portfolio
As part of our entry we compile a portfolio, full of information and photographs, showing what’s been achieved in the Village over the year. It’s been beautifully designed by Joshua Lerner and we’re very proud of it; we hope you will be too. An electronic copy is available to view below:
This year we have targeted three new areas:
THE VILLAGE SQUARE: This space has nearly doubled in size and we now have two additional flower beds to look after. We devised a planting scheme which will make the square a stunning place to hang out, relax and meet your neighbours. Biodiversity is at the top of our agenda and the local honey-bee population will love all the pollen and nectar-rich flowers.
ORFORD ROAD TREE PITS: Ten new trees have been planted in Orford Road. The pits around the trees have been planted with a colourful display of perennial flowers. Orford Road will be the prettiest high street in London!
CHALMERS HOUSE ORCHARD PROJECT (CHOP): Following seven months of negotiation with East Thames Housing Association, we received approval for an orchard of fruit trees on the land along the Orford Road railings (opposite Orford House). The planting of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees has created a green corridor to the heart of the Village. Residents and wildlife are enjoying the flowering trees in the spring and juicy fruit in the summer.
Jakob Hartmann has been watering the Orford Road tree pits and flowerbeds with the free council cargo bike, recycled containers and recycled water. How green is that, eh? Down at the Chalmers House Orchard Project (CHOP) we are blessed to have access to a tap and a hose thanks the lovely Sandra, who lives in one of the ground floor flats.
Mick (the butcher), Nicky (Desborough News), Laurance (Queen’s Arms), Rev’d Vanessa and Cameron Conant, and the gentleman living upstairs from Paul Shekleton Architects have already agreed to adopt and water several Orford Road tree pits – and we are working on getting the rest adopted very soon. Let us know if you would be able to do some watering (if it ever stops raining!).
Saturday 16 April – BIG DIG – 10.30 am We held a BIG DIG event to and over 50 volunteers came to plant the Orchard, Village Square and tree pits.
These projects were sponsored thanks to the amazing generosity of residents and businesses via our crowd-funding page, BEE17 and a grant from the Hoe Street Community Ward Forum Fund. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
For a taste of what goes into our Bloom entry and throughout the year, here is a 15 minute video thanks to Sarah Vincent and the Walthamstow Community Video Workshop:
Village Veg – Your Doorstep Allotment
The community allotment project in Beulah Road outside the Lifeline Centre is a fabulous success thanks to sponsorship by Fullers Builders, the stirling efforts of Caroline Barton aided by Liz Evans and the Weekly Watering Team. Caroline has handed over the baton to Vally Gesthuysen and Darryl Abelscroft who are taking the driving seat of this exciting project growing vegetables, herbs and fruit for the benefit of the community. Bring your colander and scissors and help yourself! Do contact us if you’d like to help with watering, planting and/or maintenance.
New planters and pocket parks
It is fantastic that residents from Folkestone Road, East and West Avenues and their surrounds are volunteering to maintain the new planters on East Avenue bridge and the pocket park on the junction of West Avenue Road and St Mary’s Road. First Avenue residents have planted up the tree-pits and are looking to maintain the green area that adjoins Hoe Street. We now have volunteers from Grove Road/Pembroke Road to help with the tree pits, mini-orchard. Contact us if you can help and we can support you and coordinate our efforts.
Summit Road – spring flower display
In autumn Gardening Club volunteers spent an exhausting morning planting 2000 bulbs in the very hard and stony grass verges along Summit Road right up to the entrance of the Ravenswood Road Industrial Estate. The bulbs were kindly donated by the Lincolnshire family firm Taylors Bulbs of Spalding, in partnership with the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association (MPGA).
We hope you enjoyed the beautiful spring flower displays throughout the Village. Over the years we’ve planted tens of thousands of bulbs.
BEE17, our community beekeeping project run by Richard Smith and Helen Lerner, goes from strength to strength. We will have our raw honey and other honey-based homemade products for sale at the Plant & Seed Swap on Sunday 4 September 2016. We urge you to choose seeds and plants with bees and beneficial insects in mind. For a list of bee-friendly plants please go to www.rhs.org and search Perfect for Pollinators. From the proceeds of our Christmas pop-up shops BEE17 has donating £600 towards the replanting of the Village Square.
The two colonies of bees are really busy now, collecting pollen and nectar; thanks to everyone who planted crocuses that provided an early food source for the bees. To follow news of our two hives see the BEE17 Facebook page or go to www.bee17.bz where you can log into our live bee-cam.
Walthamstow Village in Bloom 2015 & WVRA Environment Committee
Well done everyone! Helen Lerner, Teresa Deacon and Caroline Barton attended the London in Bloom awards ceremony at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park on 15 September to discover that we have maintained our standard and been awarded another GOLD award and, for the 6th time, London in Bloom’s Best London Village! Kyle Bourne Village was awarded Silver, Twickenham Village, Hale Village and Barnes Village all got Silver-Gilt.
As the icing on the cake and, as a complete surprise, Walthamstow Village was awarded London in Bloom’s 2015 Greener Streets Award, beating all the boroughs and other entrants for “greening the grey” streets of London! You’ll be able to see the awards, the marking sheets and read the judges’ comments at the WVRA AGM on Monday 19 October at 8pm at the Asian Centre when we’ll be giving out certificates to all those that entered our local garden challenges.
Here is a link to the portfolio that we produce as part of our entry before judging to showcase our year-round activities
Really well done and thank you to each and every one you; together we are a winning team! We are very grateful for the continued support of our kind sponsors who include Eat17 and Village Spar, Fullers Builders and BEE17.
It all started in 2003 when 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 have a year round calendar of events.
We have no formal boundaries but work within the two conservation areas that comprise Walthamstow Village. We fund-raise via the main WVRA, apply for small grants and are kindly given donations to carry out our work. We are 100% volunteer-led but are invaluably assisted and supported by Waltham Forest council.
Crime Prevention & Civic Pride
Walthamstow Village has many paths and alleys and a large churchyard. On the advice of the Metropolitan Police the Gardening Club carries out work to “eliminate recesses, blind corners and hiding places” and remove graffiti. We have a constant battle with the problem of dog fouling. It has been proven that crime is reduced if an area looks well-cared for and tidy and we have certainly seen this over the past few years.
Our work includes:
- Village Veg – our 2015 project creating a community doorstep allotment in Beulah Road.
- creating, planting and maintaining the tree-pits in Vestry Road.
- clearance via Waltham Forest of the giant Leylandii from the green adjacent to The Ancient House and the planting of a perennial wildflower meadow and Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo).
- spreading 15 tonnes of compost donated by North London Waste Authority on 26 beds and planters.
- bulb planting events; over the years we have planted tens of thousands of bulbs from snowdrops that bloom in January to lilies in June and everything in between!
- Lavender Corner – our 2013 project on the corner on the junction of Vestry Road/Berryfield Close.
- two annual clean-ups
- running gardening challenges to encourage residents and businesses to improve gardens and frontages to improve the street-scene and to get to know neighbours.
- removing graffiti and fly-tipping, maintenance and planting of verges in Vinegar Alley.
- removing 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 to Network Rail fly-tipping and graffiti on the railway embankments
- cutting back of vegetation blocking sight-lines and pathways
- running anti-dog mess campaigns and liaising with WF to get “hotspot” stencils placed in problem areas.
- liaising with property companies to ensure signs are removed within two weeks of let or sale
- attending Ward Forum meetings held by councillors to ensure residents’ voices are heard.
- consulting with WF and attending their meetings re planning, transport, environment, parking, rubbish collection, cleansing etc.
- attending council Street Watchers meetings
- liaising with Clean Up UK, the RHS and other environmental organisations.
We work closely with our ward councillors, the council and Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, who lives locally, joins in activities and is a supporter of In Bloom.
WVRA Gardening Group
The Gardening Group started in August 2004 to tend the garden on the corner of Eden and Orford Roads (later becoming the Village Square). We maintain the adopted planters, flowerbeds, tree pits and any public spaces that require attention.
We have a core group of stalwart volunteers who turn up come rain or shine. Those who join in include families with children and people of all ages, abilities and from a variety of backgrounds.
We meet at 10.30 am on the Village Square on the first Saturday of each and every month and have a year-round list of activities that includes weeding, planting and pruning, litter-picking, painting out and cleaning off graffiti, re-painting street furniture and clearing and cutting back vegetation from footpaths.
If you would like to get involved on the committee or as a gardening volunteer please get in touch with Helen Lerner via this contact form.