‘Let’s make Southwark estates great’ – new improvement scheme has one million funding pot

Katherine Johnston (29 May, 2019) Environment

'We are calling on residents to come forward with new ideas – big and small – for how to improve the shared spaces in their estates'

29772Cllr Leo Pollak with residents from Sceux Gardens

A new plan to make Southwark’s estates great places to live has been launched – with a £1 million pot of funding for its pilot sites.

Southwark Council’s ‘Great Estates’ initiative aims to help residents improve their estates and chose how money should be spent on community projects that benefit everyone.

The trial project will involve residents groups working with the council to set up their own estate improvement plan and then putting it into action.

One estate to inspire the project is Sceaux Gardens, in Camberwell, where residents including TRA secretary Liz Sipthorpe have been actively trying to get more people growing their own fruit and vegetables through a gardening project.

Liz says since they created new allotments five years ago, the project has helped teach children where their food comes from, get older people outdoors and enjoying the company of others, and also played a small part in trying to tackle food poverty.

And the added benefit, she says, is that the gardens look lovely too.

“The allotment improves the look of the estate and has had a much bigger impact as it brings pride about that bit of land,” she told the News.

“Children are growing their own vegetables for the first time and their parents can reduce their food bill a little bit.

“There’s joy in producing your own tomatoes, or beans, and it’s positive for your mental health, especially if you’re in a high rise block and don’t have outdoor space.”

Leo Pollak, the council’s cabinet member for social regeneration and new council homes, encouraged any one with ideas to get in touch.

“At the heart of this is a new licence for residents to work with the council to help improve the look and feel of the shared spaces in our estates, and a process for upholding new expectations to make sure our estates are safe clean and cared for.

“Our vision is for Southwark council estates to be the beating heart of the city and we are calling on residents to come forward with new ideas – big and small – for how to improve the shared spaces in their estates.”

The Great Estates scheme also aims to identify sites for new council homes.

The council says pilot estates will be selected by a steering group of local representatives and experts, and the plan developed in conjunction with the council will then be put in place towards the end of the year.

Anyone who has ideas for their estate and wants to get involved with the scheme should visit www.southwark.gov.uk/greatestates

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