BBC programme visited project on Southfields estate
A restoration and conservation project on a Southfields estate last week received a visit from the people behind the BBC’s Countryfile.
The programme makers were filming at Edgecombe Hall to see the outcome of a council-run project to bring a historic pond on the estate back to life and re-introduce wildlife and wild flowers to the area.
The pond restoration project was made possible thanks to a £55,000 grant from the National Heritage Fund – along with a further £2,000 from Kew Gardens for wild flower planting and conservation.
It has seen repair work to historic ponds designed by acclaimed Victorian landscape gardeners James Pulham and Son.
The project was originally designed to encourage local people to do some light exercise in the form of gardening but as it developed project managers from the council’s housing department and environmental charity Groundwork realised the extent of Edgecombe Hall’s historical interest and importance as a wildlife conservation area.
Over the course of the restoration work, many volunteers from the community attended conservation days and received training in biodiversity and wildlife conservation – making bird boxes and planting wild flowers and pond plants.
Countryfile’s team spoke to some of the residents involved with the project last Friday for an episode that is due to be aired on BBC One on May 26.
Wandsworth’s housing spokesman, Councillor Paul Ellis, said: “This project has seen the local community come together to work towards a common goal and it has clearly been a resounding success. The council has installed benches and picnic style seating in the gardens to turn the area into a focal point for the estate – but ultimately thanks must go to the National Heritage Fund and Kew Gardens, whose funding made this project possible.”
The funding will also pay for the filming of a history project with local residents next month, following them as they explore the history of the site. The film will subsequently be uploaded to the council’s YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/user/WandsworthBC.
The installation of benches, picnic seating and railings around the pond edge was carried out under the council’s Small Improvement Budget Scheme (SIBS).
Any council-accredited residents’ association can apply for funding for improvement work via SIBS. To find out everything you need to know in order to apply visit www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200027/council_housing/246/get_involved/6.
May 16, 2013