The Big Local is a national initiative that strives to help to bring communities together, HCGA was invited to help the Hanwell Big Local on their ‘Green Hanwell Project’. Every Tuesday we have an HCGA member of staff running activities in the Hanwell Big Local area. The free community activities held at the community centre are very popular, bringing lots of people together doing green activities from planting seeds to making soap with plant essential oils and dried flowers to creating kokedamas. One parent described this as a ‘magical time’ where she could do an activity with her daughter.
The trips have been increasingly popular, with nearly 120 people taking advantage of guided trips to Kew Gardens and a minibus of residents going fruit and vegetable picking over the summer. As a result of this we are aiming to have one trip a month this coming year. On a trip to Kew Gardens in the autumn two of the people discovered that their houses backed onto each other and they hadn’t spoken for 20 years.
There is a small community woodland in the Hanwell Big Local area that had paths created through it in the early stages of the Big Local, but it had fallen into a bit of disrepair and the locals said they didn’t like using it because it was very dark and had a lot of stinging nettles. HCGA organised a large corporate day to help clear the woodland and make dead hedges to keep the stinging nettles off the paths (these make excellent wildlife habitats) and to plant over a thousand spring bulbs. Our aim is to make this an attractive place for children to explore and everyone to be able to enjoy a calm spot in the urban jungle. To assist in this we are having a monthly children’s gardening session from this spring in the woodland or in Paddington Court across the road to increase engagement.