For a long time, the Seaford-Leeland Terrace corner was just a neglected spot with brambles and always far-to-reach blackberries. All that changed when I saw a notice at the West Ealing Neighbours notice board near Sainsbury’s in Melbourne Avenue (a good source of info) asking for neighbours willing to help spruce up a few forgotten council-owned green corners.
It was a good call as I was looking for volunteering activities now that my kids are mutating into teens. The first meeting was very lively, full of people bursting with ideas; and finished with the creation of a WhatsApp group, of course. The subsequent Saturdays were busy, with many hands trying to control the aforementioned bramble, the creeping and in some places overhanging ivy; and trying to devise ways to keep the fence from toppling over.
And then it happened as with some chemical reactions: after a big burst of effervescence the contents of the beaker calm down and nothing seems to happen, but if you look carefully crystals start to appear where the liquid evaporates. And so around those first crystals, a group of a few regulars (always open to newcomers and occasional passers-by) has formed, creating a new group called West Ealing Green Spaces of which the core (and to whom thanks and admiration are due) is bubbly Simone!! And Simone will say it’s not true, but when she is in the plot more people stop and chat than if it is just Mary and me, say.
Thanks to this group friendships are being created, we get to meet new people with fresh (and sometimes different) points of view, and we have created a place to be proud of. It even makes me more willing to pick up litter! For me, it has been amazing to be spreading mulch (several layers of it), to build up the raised beds, and to receive the spontaneous “thank you”, “good job” and once or twice a helping hand from passersby. Being part of this motley crew is also a great reminder that when people get together with a common objective, great things happen!
So thank you David for giving the initial push and to all helpers, be they regular or one-timers. And I have plans to tutor a bramble along the (not toppling now) fence for ease of berry picking.
By Andres Requena Gutierrez, WEGS founding member
If you want to get involved in this project then drop by on a Saturday morning at 10am and one of the group will be there. Also, if you have a site in mind you’d like to see transformed please contact email@example.com.