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Green and Growing during Covid-19: Greenway Orchard, tree pits and sunflowers

Slowly but surely, the lockdown is easing off- and that means many more people out and about on Plaistow streets and green spaces.

The Greenway is filling up again with cyclists, dog walkers and runners- and summer is in full swing, although you could not tell by the weather.

Orchard on The Greenway is busier than ever, used by families and groups of friends, which is very encouraging to see. To add to its food growing theme, PSBL has purchased, delivered and organised planting of the cooking herbs in the two front boxes in The Orchard few weeks ago, which will be available for Green Gym volunteers and residents to use once the plants get fully established- for now, they need to be left to develop roots and new growth in their new home. Thankfully, recent rains have helped to keep them lush and healthy.

We also have a new volunteer, Zofia, who is very keen to put her enthusiasm for helping community spaces to thrive by removing litter from The Orchard and bringing water to ever thirsty Tree Pit Gardens on Tunmarsh Lane. She is also producing hand-made signs for both sites, bringing her artistic flair to the mix. Welcome Zofia, the Green Gym volunteers and Tree Pit Gardeners are so very glad to have you on board!

Last month we were contacted by Newham Mag to give our contribution to the promotion of volunteer activities during Covid-19 lockdown, and their resident photographer came both to the Orchard and the Tree Pit Gardens to capture volunteers at work; tidying, weeding and watering whilst also joking amongst themselves and clearly enjoying the outdoor photo session. We hope we make it to the next Newham Mag’s edition selection-look out for smiling faces of our volunteers, being a dab hand with shovels and rakes!

In the pipe line there will be a few gardening maintenance sessions at the Tree Pits soon. The PSBL Steering Group approved a further spend to re-populate Tree Pits- the variety of plants has been ordered, and the call out for all who want to join will be sent as soon as they arrive.  Look out for the message from PSBL on social media sites(Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).

Lastly, we are sharing a few photos of sunflowers planted across South Plaistow few months ago in resident’s front gardens and outside Plaistow Fire Station, clearly thriving- update to follow when their glorious flowerheads open!

If you would like to get involved with projects we are currently running, or are interested in joining the Steering Group, please get in touch with either ros@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk, or milena@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk, we will point you in the right direction. Wishing you all a pleasant rest of July!

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We have launched a new fund!

Have you got a great idea that would benefit Plaistow South at this challenging time during Covid-19? If so, Plaistow South Big Local is launching a small grants fund that could enable your idea to become reality!

We encourage residents and groups to apply for a grant for between £100 to £2500. It’s a simple application form (click on this link) or for further information, please drop us an email on info@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk”.  The deadline is Tuesday 21st July for projects that take place by 31st October.

Join us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also be kept updated with our regular E news – please email us to be added.

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PSBL Community competition – win a voucher a week!

During the time when some of us have to self-isolate, and all of us are required to practice social distancing, it is important to show solidarity , and make an effort to communicate with our neighbours by other means.  We have seen many an image of window displays in the social media for passers-by to enjoy or engage with.

That is why PSBL wants to invite all of you South Plastonians to take part, and SHOW US YOUR BEST DECORATED WINDOW!

There’s a different category every week for 4 weeks. This week post the photo of your ‘dressed’ window to our Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/plaistowsouth (or email to us and we will post it – ros@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk) and our FB followers will pick the winner by posting ‘Likes’- the window with most ‘likes’ gets the prize.

The winner will receive £25 Newham bookshop voucher (to support the local Newham economy – open for online orders), or a £20 voucher of your choice. Deadline Thursdays 5pm.

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Green Gym volunteers to run a special litter pick session 27 February

The Greenway Orchard Green Gym volunteers pick litter on the Orchard site every single Thursday. In recognition of a recent and generous TKMaxx donation, they are doing a special litter pick at the PSBL shed on 27 February 11-2. The site is very littered and overgrown.

The Greenway Orchard Green Gym is now an independent community group in its own right. The inaugural AGM was held at The Mix on 19th February, with support from PSBL. The Officers (Clive, Eleanor & Nathalie) and the committee (Jaqui, Lucy & Will) have decided that they want to devote a whole Green Gym session to litter picking. This will take place on Thursday 27 February, 11-2, on the corner of Prince Regent Lane and the Greenway. See the flyer below. If you want to come, just turn up or ring -07957 534908

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Calling for a cement mixer and generator for positive response to vandalism!

The Plaistow Orchard gets care and attention every Thursday by the Green Gym volunteers. The Orchard is a feel-good touch of wildness and nature on the Greenway to be enjoyed by everyone. Unfortunately a week after our fabulous harvest festival event at end of October, vandals destroyed hand-made benches, the water butt shed and damaged the wooden table. This was very disheartening for the volunteers and all at PSBL and the way forward wasn’t at all clear.

Amazing things have happened since the vandalism. Gas work contractors tRIIO and Skanka have widened our paths and mulched them, and Bernie of tRIIO has identified an on-site container to store our equipment and will fund its delivery. Volunteer Clive is building the shuttering for a concrete base and permissions have been granted.

It’s just that we need cement/sand etc, a cement mixer, a generator (there’s no electricity on site) and muscle on the day, which could be a weekend. Can you help? Have you got any contacts? We hope to keep on with the in-kind support which has been phenomenal so far. We see such potential for this small patch of nature. We want to carry out this work and get the container on site by the end of January if we can.

Since the vandalism we have done many positive things:

Please do get in touch if …… you would like to join the Thursday Green Gym sessions – we could always do with more help. 11-2 every week…… or you want to help with the hard work of making the concrete base……. or you know anyone that has a cement mixer and generator we could borrow, and local companies who would be willing to help with materials.

Please get in touch with volunteer Clive (07485 123556) , or Ros at PSBL (07957 534908 / ros@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk

Thanks!!

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Green Gym – fab harvest festival, goodbyes and a new year begins…

It’s exactly one year since PSBL started to support the Greenway Orchard Green Gym. It’s been a great year! Sadly we said goodbye to Amanda who has been the lead volunteer – she is emigrating to Portugal. We now leave the Green Gym in the capable hands of Eleanor and Clive and other locals, and we will continue to give support. The plan is that by 31st October next year, it is a totally independent group. See some photos from today – it was a lovely Autumn day and an opportunity to enjoy nature in Plaistow.

Lots of folk came along to say goodbye to Amanda

The Green Gym continues all through the winter: mulching the paths, pruning, planting and whatever projects they come up with. Unfortunately the bench was stolen this week and so a new one will need to be made.

A fabulous day with 16 visitors and workers 🙂 Just pop round or ring/text 07957 534908. Plenty of room for more!

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The Greenway Orchard now has water butt shed – so we want rain!

It’s been a problem for nearly 3 years now, which we hope we have solved.

The Orchard on the Greenway, a beautiful green space, with raised beds and all sorts growing, but no water!  It’s a 8 minute walk to the hospital with trolleys and wheelbarrows.  Clive , Eleanor and other volunteers put their heads together and came up with a solution.  We now have a water butt shed, and desperately want some rain to try it out and see how much we can harvest! 

We are at the Orchard every Thursday, 11-2.  It’s fun!  See some pics below from the last few months 🙂  For more info click here

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Saturday is the Youth Market & lots more! 1st June.

Bring your family and friends to the PYM on Saturday 1st June.  We are expanding the market following your ideas that we’ve been gathering.  There will be 14 traders including food, refreshments & cakes, plus Dr Bike, board games, picnic area, and activities for children and young people including non contact boxing and self defence.

The weather looks good!  The stalls are amazing! We are building up activities to complement the stalls!  You will also be able to ‘adopt a sunflower’ that are growing quietly behind the stalls and need some individual love through regular watering and weeding. You’ll get an adoption certificate and a ribbon to tie by the one you choose!

Saturday 1st June.  11-3.  Plaistow Youth Market and community day.

Greenway between Barking Road and Prince Regent Lane

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Announcing our new Development and Engagement Lead appointment

Following a recent Plaistow South Big Local (PSBL) recruitment campaign for a Development and Engagement Lead, we are delighted to announce that Denny Cornuaud – our former Chair, has been appointed to the role.

Denny brings with her a wealth of experience and understanding of Plaistow South and the wider community, as well as the Big Local National Lottery Community Fund.  

PSBL Steering Group members, supported by our Locally Trusted Organisation – REIN (Rights and Equalities in Newham), completed the recruitment exercise together with the help of an independent HR consultant who led the recruitment process.

Denny’s role will primarily focus on the following areas:

  • Managing projects and staff
  • Leading on the implementation of the PSBL Plan and associated budget
  • Engaging with our community
  • Supporting the PSBL Steering Group to deliver the Big Local programme and PSBL Plan
  • Delivering our legacy and sustainability
  • Reporting on progress and delivery

This is an important step for PSBL. We are looking forward to following up and gaining momentum to our work from here.

Denny started work this week and will be reaching out across our network over the coming weeks.

You can contact her at the following email address: denny@plaistowsouthbiglocal.org.uk

Congratulations to Denny and best wishes to her in her new role! 

Patrick Pieroni, Interim Chair, PSBL & Paul Leslie, Director, REIN

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Your support needed for a new community project in Plaistow South

Announcing an exciting new project for Plaistow South that we have been dreaming of for years.  We urgently need your help to reach 100 ‘pledges’ within 2 weeks! 

Mind, Body and Soul Food: Building a kitchen for a community café & social enterprise with therapeutic garden at REIN’s youth/community Centre in Cumberland Road to facilitate social enterprise, mindfulness, well-being & inclusion 🙂

This is a ‘crowdfunding project’ that relies on financial and practical support from large numbers of local people and organisations.  We need ‘pledges’ of £2 – £500+!   It is a partnership between REIN, Urban Mindfulness and PSBL  and would cost £113K for the first stage.

Here are the exciting advantages of the Mind, Body and Soul Food project.

  • New kitchen suitable for a community café and social enterprise.
  • Small therapeutic garden that offers a tranquil time out space for young adults and their families.
  • New floor to the community hall suitable for well-being classes, workshops and courses.
  • Free educational Mindfulness Course with a prosocial intention to each Secondary School in Newham
  • Free educational Self defence course with a prosocial intention to each Secondary School in Newham
  • Week long summer mindfulness school for youngsters and their families in Newham
  • Address diversity & inclusion as highlighted by the Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group Report “Mindful Nation”
  • Impact assessment to assess benefits & inform future application, including possible wider use e.g other London boroughs
  • Work with community/schools to identify individuals/groups who would benefit most and/or who are at greatest risk

We need your help to pass on the Word.  The SpaceHive crowdfunding website is here https://www.spacehive.com/rein that you need to make your pledge on. If you need help with it, please do give us a ring or email. This can only work if we can build up a wonderful community body of support.  If you can tell your neighbours and friends, it would help a lot.  Schools, organisations, businesses:  please do also pledge support.

Our first goal is 100 pledges from local people within the next 2 weeks!!