Maryon Park Community Garden

The Community Garden provides growing beds and a Forest School area for local schools and promotes sustainable local organic food growing and the health benefits of gardening and outdoor environmental education and outdoor art therapy. The garden is a not-for-profit voluntary community group project. Fees received from plot holders, schools and corporate organisations are invested in the upkeep, maintenance and improvement of the garden. The garden applies for grants and is involved in fund raising events. The garden has received support from the Royal Borough of Greenwich 'Parks and Open Spaces Department', Capital Growth, Transform, City Hall and 'Business in the Community' partners. The Garden is a member of Capital Growth, London's Food Growing Network. Capital Growth support people to grow food in London, whether at home, on allotments or as part of a community group. There is more information on their website: http://www.capitalgrowth.org/

Maryon Park Community Garden Meetings

Annual General Meeting 2016
Minutes of AGM: Tuesday 15th March 2016
Venue:  Kinveachy Gardens
Date:   Tuesday 15 March 2016: 7.00 for 7.30 – 9.30 pm

Present (16) Edna Anderson (Secretary) Tim Anderson (Chair), Dr. Paul
Breen (Vice Chair), Fred Barwick (Treasurer), Chris Bruton, Tony Dyson, Kfir
Davidyan, Tony Dyson, Pauline Ferdinand, Vanessa Lockhart, Daisy Simmonds, Ed
Simmonds, Miriam Kakembo, Alan Webb, Simon Woodward, Ruth Yeo,

Apologies: (2) Gemma Conley-Smith, Valentino Daprice

1. Minutes of previous meeting, 15th September 2015, approved for accuracy.

2. Maters Arising

a) Plots - Eglinton School and Sam Bell had not taken up the two top plots by the orchard. The Community Garden assumes that the school did not want to proceed with the venture. The top plot has been identified as the mpossible site for a greenhouse.

b) Edible Gardens Open Day - Tim reported that the event was successful. Chris observed that the young people from the Challenge were very enthusiastic. Edna said that one of our visitors, Tristan Anderson, her son, had won one of the Capital Growth raffle prizes.

c) National Citizens Service - The NCS Challenge have already rebooked for this year.

d) City and Guilds Volunteer Day - In spite of being ready to receive a group from C&Gs in October, they did not appear. There had been a communication breakdown.

e) Special College Visit - Marjorie McClure College are coming back for this year.

f) Pizza Oven - Alan will be building the brick base for the oven.

g) Maintenance - Alan updated the information on his maintenance tasks. He has created sweet
pea netting on the cold frame fence, made bug installations for the Forest
School and procured ten high quality railway sleepers for the wild flower bank.

3. Chairs Annual Report - Tim gave a power-point presentation illustrating the tabled written report.

4. Treasurers report - Fred distributed the 2015 accounts summary and audit certificate. Fred reported that MPCG had £529.96 in the bank at the end of December (and currently £678.38). Fred explained that the Chair handles the ‘day-to-day’ accounting but, as a trained community group treasurer, he checks the monthly statements. Fred reported that, Christine Bruton had, on behalf of the Garden, asked Kathy Kennedy, a qualified accountant if she would audit the Garden accounts. Kathy signed off the 2015 accounts providing an audit certificate and valuable advice. Fred pointed out that the Garden has done well with Grant applications this year.
The meeting passed two financial resolutions, adopting Kathy Kennedy as auditor for 2016 and a nominal spending limit of £200. The issues of how to deal with fundraising cash would be brought to the next meeting. The Chair expressed thanks to Christine and Kathy for the invaluable help.

5. Events - Edna outlined seven events and open days planned for the Community Garden this year. She asked members to let her know if they were available to help. Edna explained that the Big Lunch on 12th June coincided with the Queen’s 90th Birthday celebration and that the Charlton Parkside Community Hub were planning a picnic event in Maryon Park on that day. Edna asked the meeting if they would support running the Community Garden Big Lunch in the Community Garden on that day instead of in Maryon Wilson Park as in
previous years. The meeting was in general agreement. Ed said that our event could be an “Add-on” to the event in the park.

6. Forest School - Ed Simmons reported that the school and the Forest School Teacher were very happy with the new shelter. Daisy said “It is really cool” and that as a project the Year 3 children are designing an introductory Forest School brochure for the new children and their parents. Ed explained that new materials had arrived to complete the fencing along the side by the Forest School Shed. Ed has spent some hours repairing the damaged fence by the Forest School steps.

7. Wild Life - Vanessa reported she attends the garden early mornings to replenish the bird feeders.  She has introduced more toads. Vanessa reported that the garden has a mouse, shrew and a beautiful fox that she believes is pregnant. She explained that the fox runs near the lower sheds and on the bank need preserving. Vanessa encouraged plot holders to grow flowers between their vegetables to encourage wild life.

8.COATS – The founder of COATS, Simon Woodward gave a very interesting talk on the work of the Community Outdoor Arts Therapy Service. COATS provides out-door art therapy for people with anxiety and depression through art and nature to promote mental heath wellbeing. COATS qualified therapists will be providing art workshops, based in the Forest School and Community Garden on the third
Saturday in the month from April 23rd. Simon said that the philosophy draws upon eco-psychotherapy and aims to deepen relationships with the natural world. Simon will be promoting his workshops through the Second Floor Studio complex and run an information stall at the Big Dig Open Day.

9. AOB
a) Ed explained that the newly planned Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival are looking for outdoor venues for screening. He felt Maryon Park would be a good option. Fred pointed out that ‘Blow Up’ was shown in the park a few years ago. Ed will attend the next Film Festival pilot meeting.
b) Tony offered the Community Garden a selection of flowerpots.
c) Edna said another a trip was planned to collect mature horse manure for the Garden. Tony and Fred expressed an interest in joining the trip.

10.Date of Next Meeting: Tuesday 10th May 2016 11.The Chair thanked everybody for attending the meeting.

Edna Anderson: MPCG Secretary (16th March 2016)

Chairs Report 2016

Maryon Park Community Garden and Forest School: An Independent Voluntary Community Group
In January, after the unanimous support from the Friends of the Parks, the Community Garden became an associated
but independent not-for-profit Community Project.  The first MPCG meeting was held on Thursday 15th January 2015. The meeting voted in the Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer and Coordinating Secretary and seven committee members; Ed, Gemma, Kfir, Miriam, Tony Ruth and Vanessa.   The Community Garden adopted its own Constitution, Health and Safety and Safeguarding Policies.  A Website and a
Facebook page and Twitter account were set up for the garden in January.

CommunityBank Account The Community Garden CBF Account at was opened after all the committee members were subjected to financial background checks. Fred, as treasurer, has been advising and overseeing the garden spending and accounting.

Auditor The Community Garden is fortunate to have contacted an experienced auditor, Cathy Kennedy, who is providing her services without charge. The accounts and auditors report for 2015 will also be presented to the Friends of the Park.

Weekly and Monthly Open Days The garden has been open on Wednesday afternoons and on the afternoon of the first Saturday in the month for visitors and volunteers. We have had visits by members of the general public and volunteers from the Team London Speed Volunteer scheme.

Special Open Days and Events The Community Garden hosted the Big Dig Open day in March and the Edible Gardens Open Day in November. Both events were very well attended with 90 visitors each day. We organized a Big Lunch on 7th June in Maryon Wilson Park that was attended by many of the plot holders and volunteers. As part of the Greenwich and Bexley Hospice’s Open Gardens fundraising event the Garden was opened on 14th June.

Corporate workdays This year the Community Garden has hosted corporate team building workdays with volunteers from Lloyds Bank, as part of the Business in the Community ‘Give and Dain Day’ scheme and two days with workers
from the examination and qualification body City and Guilds.

Educational Visits  Marjorie McClure Special Further Education College made two visits, one in the summer to plant out and a return visit in the Autumn to see and take back to college, the produce from vegetables they
had planted.

National Citizens Service: The Challenge The National Citizen’s Service staff visited the Garden to arrange ‘The Challenge’ workday in September when students taking the Challenge worked in the garden. They also raised funds for the garden on
Edible Gardens Day. The NCS staff team returned for their own Team Building day in February.

Garden Improvements A pergola shelter and a rainwater collection system has been installed. Alan has constructed a fence to prevent people walking on the cold frames. Work continues on the wild flower bank terracing with railway sleepers donated to the Community garden.

Forest School A set of steps, up to the Forest School gate were built by Fred and Ed with the help of corporate volunteers.  A pergola classroom has been built in the Forest School. Classes started on 22nd April, with 90 early years pupils, three classes of 30 students attending on Wednesdays.

Maintenance 
Alan designed and built a wood storage system. Alan, with help from Vanessa, has created a work area with a shed,
workbenches and storage space. The additional storage unit stores bric-a-brac and gifted items to sell for the garden. 
Alan has built 4 bird boxes and two insect installations for the Forest School.  Regular volunteers have included Vanessa,
Ruth, Kfir, Edna, Tim and

Growing Plot holders have been harvesting a range of produce over the summer. We record the produce on Capital Growth’s Harvest-ometer helping to meet their annual target of 1,000,000 meals for London. We received 20 boxes of wild flowers from Grow Wild.

Grants
1. The Community Garden was successful with a £9,000 grant from the London Tree and Woodland Community Trust for an eco-hub
outdoors classroom. As part of the grant we planted 30 whips in and around the community garden. The Grant turned out to be complex and difficult to manage. The finance had to be spent upfront and required 50% match
funding. Payment of the Grant was subject to a deadline. After negotiations and support from Parks and Open Spaces and 5 months delay we met the deadline by three hours.
2. Greenwich Parks Friends Forum granted the garden £1,000 for a fruit cage for the orchard and mesh fencing for the
Forest School.
3. We were short listed for funding for outdoor art therapy classes from the Good Neighborhood fund. The grant would have financed outdoor art therapy classes for people with mental health issues but the fund wanted a two-year project to fund and the
grant only covered the costs for one year.
4. We were unsuccessful with a £9,000 grant application to the Tesco’s Community Grant Fund, but there were 5,000 applicants.

Fund Raising
The garden continues to be expensive to run. The plot fees just cover the regular maintenance expenses of £10 a week.  All other costs have to be covered either by fundraising and income from corporate volunteer days. The stall at the Maryon Wilson Animal Park Open Day and the Thorntree School Christmas Fayre on 19th December were both successful. The Corporate Workdays bring £15 a head, and NCS Challenge also guarantees at least £100. 

Gifts
The Garden has received garden furniture, a workbench and two garden sheds. Parks and Open Spaces gave the Community Garden
100 begonias for the Greenwich in Bloom competition, a lorry load of mulch and 10 tons of wood chips, plus logs for the Forest School by the Council’s Tree Team.  The Community Garden has also been gifted many railway sleepers for the wild flower bank.

Talks
Tim gave a talk to members of Capital Growth on how to set up and run a Big Dig Day and a presentation “Charlton’s
Hidden Garden” to the Charlton Society on the Community Garden. The fees were passed on to the Garden.

Training
Garden officers, Tim and Edna, have been attending horticultural training courses at Hadlow College, Shooters Hill Skill Centre.

Digital Foot Print
Apart from our Website, Facebook and Ed’s Old Nursery Twitter pages we are registered with Capital Growth, Project Dirt
and Team London. We have been contacted by the New York Community Garden which is sported by Bet Midler.

Congratulations
Congratulations to Ruth, who has started a new job at the Secret Garden, working as a horticultural therapist with people
with learning difficulties.

Wildlife Vanessa monitors the wildlife, introduced toads to the Garden and regularly feeds to birds. There have been sightings of
foxes, mice and various visiting cats. Alan has built a child proof pond. 

Future Plans
The next major projects on site include:
a) Completing the terracing and a path for the wild flower bank.
b) A clay oven for summer events.
c) A shatter proof Greenhouse
The Community Garden also needs upgraded fencing and ideally a decorative gate. This is a major project that will need
substantial Grant funding.

Tim Anderson 

Chair:MPCG
March 2016

 

 







Community Web Kit provided free by BT