Meet Eddystone Tower TRA Seed Project

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Lewisham Homes Tenants and Residents Associations (TRAs) have been faced with many challenges.

We have seen some TRAs inactive over this period and others embracing virtual meetings and social media as an alternative to keeping their members informed and involved.

Despite the increased challenges, TRAs are doing good work. No doubt, social distancing and the opportunity to meet face to face has been a hindrance, however, they have embraced these barriers and some have overcome them.

All their efforts have been entirely resident led, and by using our grants and fundraising they played a vital role in bringing something special during the pandemic.

The impact of people's livelihoods, the challenges to public health and food systems is devastating, and TRAs have lead the way, been co-producers with other community services, Lewisham Homes and the council to address local need.

Lewisham Tenants Fund would like to share some of the stories we have heard during the pandemic lockdown of TRAs doing good work. Under the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, TRAs have formed meaningful relationships between communities and providers to ensure inclusive participation.

Lets share and start with Eddystone Tower TRA (ETTRA) and their Seed Project!

Meet Eddystone Tower TRA

ETTRA is one of 27 Lewisham Homes TRAs situated on the Pepys estates in Deptford.

Eddystone Tower is a high rise block of 144 flats looking across the Thames to Canary Wharf.

David Almond, treasurer of ETTRA informed The Fund of their gardening project that they had undertaken during the pandemic. The project was inspired by an open green space opposite the Tower, that had a metal container on it for over 8 years. It was finally removed in February 2020, the earth underneath was extremely damaged and in April, David had an idea to breathe new life into it and make the area into a garden.

Using David's words he tells us;

'With tons of compost, some help, bulbs, plants and some tender love, this green space began to evolve. Everything was raised with more earth, so that those in wheel chairs and prams could see the first seasonal blooms clearly from the pathway. Fallen logs and various wild plants were added to give an aged effect, as though this garden had always been there.

Large rocks were set deeply into the front areas. I wanted to use rocks from the original 60s' estate walkways which were demolished in the late 80s' and much of this can still be found behind various bushes or thrown behind trees. Residents love the fact that the stones hold a piece of Pepys history.

During lockdown I carefully watched the seasonal calendar and COVID-19 news reports and timed Spring bulbs to be planted followed by a seed planting for Summer, to give residents a feeling of hope and wellbeing. Lockdown being eased meant the timing was just right.

I studied the way the Council edge the borders, use plants that cannot harm/cut and what won't bush to dense, so all guidelines were carefully thought of.

This garden and smaller connecting areas are giving residents so much joy, which is what I always hoped for.'

A community gardening event was held on Wednesday 27/4 to continue the makeover to this open green space. This Spring event was careful to observe all covid safety guidelines and had a steady flow of residents planting and getting involved. 59 residents attended and lots of others from all over the estate participated.

David further tells us 'that this initiative has enabled our covid fractured community to start to come back together and this was the start to something special.

With support from our local community centre, 2000 Community Action Centre, the project was able to do gardening along the side fence by the pathway from the Tower to the community centre. It was dug over, fertilised and planted with thousands of wild flower seeds.

Many children had never planted anything before and were so excited to do so, some have even taken the seed envelopes and info to School.

Local residents and volunteers will be helping to water the garden every week with the donation of a new 70 metre hose, donated by Eddystone' Tower resident, Tony Parry.

Ideas are now being discussed with other TRAs on the Pepys estate for joint future events'.

Check out our gallery of before and after photos showing how the ETTRA Seed Project has flourished during the pandemic.

Thanks David for sharing ETTRA Seed Project with us!

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