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Acton Gardens blooms as Countryside gives free gardening kits to residents

Countryside, the UK’s leading mixed-tenure developer, teamed up with charity and social enterprise Cultivate London to donate free gardening kits to residents of Acton Gardens, Countryside and L&Q’s £800m regeneration of the former South Acton Estate in west London. 

The project was open to all residents on the estate, who were able to sign up online and received pots, seeds, compost and hemp sacks. Around 90 residents have now picked up their gardening starter kits and also received advice from Cultivate London on how to best care for their new plants. 

The project was funded by the Countryside Communities Fund, which has been set up to support local charities and groups, food banks and others providing essential local services in locations where Countryside operates across the country. Since launching the £1m fund in April, it has contributed over £750,000 across the country.  

Daniel King, Managing Director, Partnerships West London & Thames Valley, Countryside, said: “Recent months have been extremely challenging for many, and so we wanted to give our residents a small boost by helping them spruce up their balconies and gardens. This project is part of our commitment to healthy living at Acton Gardens, where we’re creating a total of 4.69 hectares of green, open space, as well as retaining mature trees across the development. Having worked with Cultivate London throughout the regeneration, we’re delighted to continue this partnership and we can’t wait to see the gardens and balconies in bloom later this year.”

Auberon Bayley, General Manager of Cultivate London, commented: “I hope that a silver lining from the recent threat to our health, economy and restrictions to our lives is that we have seen the potential for plants to enhance our living space. What we wanted to do with the growing packs was give people a simple selection that can get you started on a windowsill, balcony or garden. For those looking to stay active and develop new skills, volunteering opportunities are available at Cultivate London, while for those who have already grown green fingers over lockdown the RHS’s Big Soup Share community initiative may be something to get stuck into.

Countryside has worked with Cultivate London throughout the Acton Gardens regeneration, initially helping the urban farm to relocate to an improved site at Acton Gardens, and also contributing towards the costs for new materials, which helped them grow their business and in turn supply the majority of the trees and plants to Acton Gardens. 

This project is the second in Acton that has been funded by the Countryside Communities Fund. Earlier this year, Countryside donated over £15,000 to the Acton Gardens Community Centre, which is being used for the food bank, community kitchen and children’s activity packs. 

Once completed in around 2028, Acton Gardens will deliver 3,463 high-quality, tenure-blind homes of which 50% are for either social rent or intermediate home ownership tenure (by habitable room). The 18-year project is also transforming the former South Acton estate with state-of-the-art community facilities and public spaces, including new parks and play areas.