Love Lane Green community garden in South Norwood was awarded a reputable certificate of recognition for their work from the country’s chief garden charity, The Royal Horticultural Society, last week.
These awards have been given to community gardens across the country in light of the national gardening competition Britain In Bloom being postponed due to the pandemic. In safer circumstances, judges would visit a range of community gardens nationwide and hold an awards ceremony for the finalists in the autumn.
The award came as a welcomed surprise to the garden’s volunteers. Emma Hope-Fitch, Secretary for Friends of Love Lane Green told Eastlondonlines: “We had no idea the RHS were awarding community gardens with these certificates. It was just a very nice recognition of all the work [the volunteers] do.”
Receiving the award felt especially valuable this year because of the difficulties Love Lane Green volunteers have faced while managing this space during a year of multiple lockdowns. Hope-Fitch said: “It’s been tough through the pandemic. We have volunteers that need to [shield] and others that just want to continue at the green. As always, we have to think about the safety of our volunteers, but this is different from your usual potential gardening injuries.”
Despite these struggles, she stressed the importance of having community gardens in the local area: “We have a shortage of public green spaces in South Norwood. It’s a densely populated area and I think it’s important for everyone to have a local green space, somewhere children can play independently and those who may be less able to walk long distances can stop for a rest…it’s important to help reduce the sense of isolation some people feel and we hope that Love Lane Green helps to get people involved in whatever way they feel they can.”
Andrea Van-Sittart, Head of Community Outreach at RHS said: “RHS certificates of recognition were awarded to over 600 groups across the UK in honour of their amazing community efforts this year.”
“We know that people have felt closer to nature through lockdown and valued access to green spaces so much more, and we have heard that people are valuing your work more than ever before,” the RHS added in a letter accompanying the certificate.