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This project is close to our heart, because it gave us the chance to enrich a communal space for some of the most vulnerable people in London.

Over 4 days we transformed 3 different areas in this centre that supports families and young people out of poverty. We were helped by an amazing designer, Giulia Serracchioli, to visualise the designs for the Centre, before we started work.

In the entrance area leading to reception we build 2 raised beds and replanted an existing bed with sensory plants that provide a rich tapestry of textures, smells and colours. The area has only a couple of hours of sun so we mainly used shade-loving plants with interesting foliage.

We also collaborated with our familiar friend Charles Hurst, a very wise tree surgeon, as he removed the old cherry tree and we planted a birch to replace it. We retained the tree stump of the dead cherry to be part of the fence in the nursery area at the back. 

In the back area we created steps and a nature trail through the plants for the children to play and hide in. We also made a bug hotel using old pallets. In the young adults’ area we created a raised bed for food growing and tidied the flower beds facing the road. We planted some climbers, such as Trachelospermum (evergreen jasmine) and ivy to climb on the fence to create a green screen from the road. As with all our designs, we tried to include as many pollinator-friendly plants as possible, with long flowering seasons. 

Over the course of the 4 days we had help from HSBC corporate volunteers organised by Cardinal Hume. The plants came from our friends at the Palm Centre and the timber was from Forestrall. We also had the essential help of Jake from Action Now, who led on the hard landscaping of the nursery area. He also brought a wood sculptor who helped with willow fencing and the cherry tree trunk sculpture at the entrance of the nature trail. 

Cardinal Hume celebrated with a ceremony to cut the ribbon of the entrance to the wildlife trail.

I just wanted to say a massive thank you for the transformation you did on our reception and gardens last week. The finished spaces look fantastic and I’ve had so many positive comments from staff.  The project was so well thought out and delivered and your management of volunteers was excellent – I think all the volunteers really enjoyed the day – although they probably found it more challenging than they anticipated, I think it made for a better experience and to feel they were really ‘hands on’.

Patricia Marron
Senior Corporate Partnerships Officer at the Cardinal Hume Centre

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