A London village that blooms year round

Discover how a one-off spring clean in the early 2000s started a community-wide campaign in Walthamstow that's gone from strength to strength

Starting a campaign


A one-off spring clean in the early 2000s spurred on by concern for antisocial behaviour, litter and graffiti became a community-wide campaign that’s gone from strength to strength. Walthamstow Village in Bloom now runs activities throughout the year with innovative fundraising events and family planting days, with a focus on drought-tolerant planting, edibles and wildlife.

Helen Lerner, community group coordinator said:


'We all feel the benefit of working as a team, getting out there in all weathers, building up a sweat and the feeling of satisfaction of a job well done. We have more than 75 people in our volunteer team with a core group of 20, many of whom have been here since the beginning, and strong friendships have formed that goes beyond gardening.'

'We all feel the benefit of working as a team... strong friendships have formed that go beyond gardening.'

Finding success


One of the group’s success stories is an on-street community allotment that sits outside a day centre for high-dependency drug users. The bed is cared for by the whole community, with produce freely available to those that use the centre, as well as to passers-by.

Expanding the project


In 2016, the group added 20 trees, four large flowerbeds and two orchards to its portfolio - planting more than 1,000 perennials and grasses, more than 6,000 spring bulbs and 20 fruit trees. The group has also planted wildlflower meadows to attract pollinators, and maintains honeybee hives, with the honey put to use in BEE17-branded produce.

A winning combination


In 2017, the Bloom group jointly won the ‘Growing Communities’ award at the national awards for its efforts to engage people from all walks of life in their entry. The group’s coordinator, Helen Lerner (pictured above) also took home a Community Champion award for her indefatigable efforts to get people gardening and share in the benefits.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.