Our Purpose: Connecting Neighbours to Grow

Our network of community gardeners comes together to share the inspiration, knowledge, and resources needed to create and sustain community gardens in Walworth. Through our community gardens we meet our neighbours, improve the local area, grow and share food, increase biodiversity, and support everyone’s wellbeing.

Our Structure:

We are a decentralised voluntary network. That means it is run by the members, for the members. Our focus is creating opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and celebration of community gardening.

How can i get involved?

I’m part of a new or established community garden group.You’re in the right place! If you want to meet others to share challenges and ideas about community gardening we’d love to meet you. Come along to our next community garden meet-up. Reach out to your neighbouring garden, and ask to go along to their next session. Join our Whatsapp Group and introduce yourself. Invite other members along for a garden visit. 
I’ve never done any Community Gardening

A good way to start is to reach out to your closest community gardens and see how you can help out. Maintaining a community garden is challenging and rewarding. You will need to be flexible and patient, but you will likely meet some brilliant people, and build your connections to the neighbourhood. Begin by exploring on foot – many community gardens are tucked away in unexpected pockets of council housing land.

You can also check our map of Walworth Community Gardens.
I want to start my own community gardenAdvice from one of our members:

“You’ll probably be keen to get cracking, but its always best to start by seeing what else and who else is around. Speak to your tenants and residents association (TRA), and housing officer, if you have one. Or nearby estates if you aren’t in a council estate yourself. And speak to as many neighbours as you possibly can. In our experience, it’s so much easier to engage a wide and diverse range of people at the very start of a project. People are often more inspired by the idea of creating something new, than helping out on a project that someone else has created.

So its important to take time to build trust in the group, and make sure everyone gets to shape what happens. Be patient and build consensus. Although it takes longer, it pays off in the long run, and shares the responsibility and burden of maintenance further down the line.

Southwark Community Gardening Coordinators can help with resources, and other contacts and permissions within the council.

Once you have permission to start, WCGN members will likely be able to help with planting recommendations, volunteering strategies, soil health, composting, tools shares, funding etc…
I’m a researcher / funder / council officer etc. who can i speak to about WCGN? No one, and everyone! As a decentralised network there is no coordinator to contact or regularly monitored inbox. But you can contact individual member gardens, and start building your own network today.

(*Note we get a lot of requests for interviews from researchers. The best way to research the network or individual garden groups is turn up and get your hands dirty.)

Does my community garden need to be in Walworth?

We are based in the three Walworth Wards of Newington, North Walworth and Faraday, (that’s  the SE17 postcode) but we have plenty of  members from outside that area. We think gardening networks work best when locally focussed, and that these areas would ultimately be best served by growing a network of their own. But for now we are happy for others to join and help spread this approach to other areas.

What does is mean to be part of WCGN? Is there a minimum commitment?

YES! We believe in setting clear expectations for what we think all members should contribute to the network.

Pledge: As a WCGN network member I commit to:

  1. Hosting a visit to our community gardens at least once a year.

    You could invite members along to something you are already planning – a workshop,  celebration or other event. Or reach out to see when members might like to visit. Offering a short informal tour of the garden can be a great way to get new ideas and help with challenges.
  2. Contributing to at least one other network event a year

Some kinds of event – plant swaps, garden shows or workshops hosted by other members can’t happen without some additional support. Please help out when you can and show up to at least one other event a year. 

  1. Being available to speak 1-1 to neighbouring community gardens 

New or neighbouring gardens may reach out for specific advice / tool sharing. Mutual support between community gardens is the core function of the network.

  1. Being patient, considerate and respectful of others in the network.

Nurture diversity within your gardening group and the network, recognising how structural inequalities impact on voluntary activities. 

  1. Spreading the word. 

Advocate for WCGN and the rewards of community gardening.   
How do i join?
Add your details to the register of member gardens
Join the Whatsapp Group
Reach out to neighbouring gardens.
Start planning to host your first meet-up for members.