The latest stage in Croydon’s regeneration of Thornton Heath has seen Loyle Carner help put the finishing touches to a transformed forecourt in a socially-distanced planting day.
Local residents were invited to the new garden in the Ambassador House forecourt which has been installed with the help of volunteers from the National Citizens Service, a youth offenders’ rehabilitation programme.
The participants were members of the community interested in being part of a future gardening club and local star Loyle Carner, who was at the launch event for the forecourt’s improvements last autumn, was also in attendance.
He said, “It’s great to be back home to help bring together our community in a way that benefits the people and the environment. I want to bring nature back to my local community and encourage others to support this movement. Open your eyes, pick up rubbish, do things for the people you care about, and they will do things for the people they care about and so on.”
The forecourt’s improvements came about in a partnership between the council and Timberland through the manufacturer’s Nature Needs Heroes campaign – run by its design consultants and social enterprise Urban Growth – and London National Park City.
The idea is to transform urban areas, greening them and promoting positive change for local communities, and the partnership has resulted in two urban spaces in Croydon reshaped into attractive community hubs: the Ambassador House forecourt and the BRIT School garden.
Alongside the new garden, a storage shed for events and activities has been installed by Tomos Design, which incorporates a gallery of locally produced artwork, created as part of their community engagement last year. Local artists Vân Dang and Bareface have also brought their artistic skills to the forecourt delivering colourful artwork on the walls and steps.
“It is wonderful seeing the community coming together like this and I am seriously impressed by this fantastic garden which will also provide a space for performance, art and creative projects. We are intent on making Croydon greener and healthier and transformative projects such as this can only help the wellbeing of our residents and improve their local environment. I would also like to thank the community in Thornton Health for their involvement, as well as our partnership with Timberland, Urban Growth and London National Park City, and I eagerly look forward to seeing how the garden will benefit the community in the future.”
Councillor Oliver Lewis, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport
The monthly gardening club will be held in the new community garden on the first Saturday of every month starting on September 5th from 1pm to 4pm. There will be seasonal themes and it will be open to all.