As part of their Brighten up London and Bee the Change campaigns, volunteering charity Hands on London’s mission has been to beautify green spaces and make them accessible to their local communities and volunteers.
Their site at Holland Park started out as an inaccessible and unmaintained forest in 2017. Hands on London (HoL) and their volunteers built the area up; adding in a pond, bug hotels, wild plants, over 2km of nature trails and outdoor classrooms. The area is now considered a ‘forest school’, specifically for children living and studying locally. Their Holland Park hub uses nearby greenhouses, where volunteers sow thousands of seeds that eventually make their way to parks, gardens and community allotments across the borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Their campaigning also includes working within local estate communities. In the past year in particular, residents in high rise buildings have needed access to outdoor green space more than anyone. Most recently, they worked on Maxilla Gardens in North Kensington, where they help build raised beds for locals to plant their fruits and vegetables.
Volunteering for HoL is local resident, Sam, who, after being laid off, found amazing potential in outdoor environmental work and wishes to find similar roles for his future career. The charity tries to be as inclusive, open and flexible with volunteering as possible. As more people go back to work, they’re attempting to fit more volunteering opportunities around the weekend, as well as providing and advertising volunteer positions to those only within the immediate local area, as a precaution to Covid-19 social distancing rules.
HoL have some amazing plans for this year's Good to Grow 2021 weekend of action. On April 23 at Holland Park’s forest school they will run a fun family day of woodchip laying, planting wildflowers, weeding and dead hedging. They are also inviting volunteers to their community estate project in Clem Attlee, Fulham, to help plant flowers around the base of nine new silver birch trees.