Restoration of this area is the focus of a small group of local residents. Groundwork London – part of our Making Space for Nature (MSFN) team – met with Kim Teasdale to discuss their plans, and how a grant from the MSFN Community Fund has helped them transform the space.
Known as the ‘hub’, the Atrium was relaunched in 2017. At the time, Erith & Thamesmead MP, Teresa Pearce said, "The hub plays an important role in everyday life for so many…helping not only to reduce isolation but creating many friendships."
A MSFN grant was approved for the Atrium and Edible Garden project in 2021, which Kim is running along with other local members of the Thamesmead Community Benefit Society (TCBS). The team’s vision for the project is to engage the community in planting and to partner with other MSFN grant recipients. For example, the Edible Garden will be able to provide locally grown produce, such as tomatoes, to support Ozge Aden (another MSFN grant recipient) with her healthy eating and seed growing workshops. Read Ozge’s story here.
The MSFN Community Fund has Thamesmead’s residents and natural environment at its core, and aims to support local people to improve community spaces. Projects such as the Atrium and Edible Garden, as well as Ozge’s workshops, aim to bring local people together to share knowledge and improve their relationship with Thamesmead’s green spaces. Working collaboratively and running events that are accessible to everyone has created a network that is steadily growing and strengthening the community. Kim says: “[The project] has connected us more deeply with the community.”
With Spring arriving, Kim spoke about the work happening at Atrium and Edible Garden, which has been full steam ahead and a good use of existing resources, saying: “The Atrium had a shed which belonged to someone who worked there but he died a few years ago. We got in touch with Peabody to open the shed and clear it out. Now the shed is filled with tools.” Kim and the team have installed composting bins and a living sculpture (made by local artist, Nathalie Coste), tidied up and weeded the Edible Garden, and received a wood delivery which will be turned into planters by another TCBS member, Debo Adegoke. Additionally, a polytunnel has recently been installed in the Atrium garden.
The team isn't showing signs of slowing down. Kim says, “We want more sculptures and more planters made from pallets.” And they have plans for more things to come that the community can look forward to, including mural festivals.
So what does the future hold for Kim and the team? She’s keen to introduce beehives to the Atrium, which will provide educational opportunities, produce in the form of honey and beeswax, plus the potential to train and employ a local beekeeper. As round two of the Making Space for Nature Community Fund opened earlier this year, Kim plans to apply for another grant to support the bees. She says the application process is straightforward and her advice for anyone considering applying is to, “Be thorough and have a project that will support and enhance the community.”
Applications for the Making Space for Nature Community Fund close on Monday 6 June. Find out how you can apply here.