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Autumn update - Growing Redhill supports the SES Water Every Drop Counts campaign


In October, we were delighted to receive a grant from SES Water for £1,000 for a new water-saving project.

Over coming months, we'll create a demonstration area on Batts Hill allotments on the Redhill - Reigate border. 

Through demonstrating rainwater harvesting and saving, allotmenteers will gain confidence in applying measures to their own plots. 

Growing Redhill will also spread the education wider through our community gardening projects.

SES Water is a local company supplying areas of east Surrey, parts of West Sussex, west Kent and south London and is proud to have served these communities for over 150 years.

Water is the most precious resource, yet we tend to take it for granted. To avoid future water shortages, we need a major culture shift in how we value water. This is especially true when it comes to water usage in allotments.

That’s why, as part of its Every Drop Counts campaign, SES Water is making available a community fund for allotments in its supply area to apply for a donation to help improve their water efficiency e.g. by installing water butts, providing more watering cans over hose pipe usage or even fixing leaking taps or pipes.

Find out more here https://seswater.co.uk/ and visit the Our Community page if you want to apply for funding.


It was a pleasure to work with Mole Valley Mulch at the beginning of our water-saving project. They made a donation of their lovely composted mulch to demonstrate how to avoid the need to water allotment plots.

 https://molevalleymulch.co.uk/

Summer news


The committee held a special general meeting in July. We made a decision to delay holding our annual general meeting. This is due to the Government's social distancing rules, which in July would have prevented us from holding a meeting that our members and stakeholders could attend in numbers. 

Until now, the AGM has been held every July, followed by an ordinary meeting. We will look to schedule the AGM in the autumn, when we hope to see you in person. In the meantime, please like our new Facebook page @GrowingRedhill.

We would love to hear your ideas for how you want to be involved and how we may share gardening know-how in Redhill and the surrounding area.

                                                        A good variety of produce from Batts Hill allotment


Our volunteers will soon be back at Merstham Station, where Growing Redhill is a station partner with Govia Thameslink Railway. In the meantime, we want to thank the station staff for putting in some summer plants we provided for the planters there.


Refreshing the planters is for Growing Redhill members only. If you are a member and want to join in, for safety reasons please let us know well in advance and you will need to provide photograph identification.


                                                Cool silver and white planting in the heat of the summer


Please watch out for any event updates or cancellations on our website before travelling www.growingredhill.co.uk



Funding news


We are delighted to hear the National Lottery Awards for All will be funding a project idea for an allotment composting toilet at the Merstham Community Allotment. The grant for £10,000 will help the Merstham community thrive.

 

The community allotment is based at plot 13 on the Weldon Way site. Any excess produce is shared with the community. To find out more, contact Charlotte Emery charlotte.emery@mcft.org.uk


How you can garden at a distance

 

Government advice is clear, we can still safely enjoy fresh air and green open spaces.

 

However, the face-to-face community gardening activities that we know and love are on pause. We would have held a seed swap at the Merstham Hub towards the end of March and will hold a seasonal event whenever Government guidance supports this type of activity again.


With many garden centres closed and staff furloughed, even getting hold of compost and plants is proving difficult in Redhill and the surrounding area. Many of us find considerable mental as well as physical health benefits in gardening. This is especially so in difficult times like these. What can we do?

 

Some of our supermarkets stock seeds and compost that you can purchase when making a journey to buy your essentials. Do check compost bags for levels of peat and decide what you feel comfortable with. At time of writing, Poundstretcher and Wilkos in Redhill had stocks of lightweight peat-free and coir compost. Light to carry, you add water to it at home.


A new campaign called PeatFreeApril is organised by gardeners & writers campaigning to stop the sale of peat-based compost.

 

Why do this? The campaign organisers say:

 

“Do you know that every bag of peat-based compost you buy contributes to wildlife habitat destruction and climate change? Do you know that many plant nurseries use peat when they produce plants for garden centres and other outlets? The digging of peat from the ground not only destroys unique wildlife habitats but releases tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and contributes to climate change.”

 

Follow the campaign and see how you can stop the sale of peat-free compost on Twitter and Facebook at @PeatFreeApril


Why not try peat-free compost?


Previous events



On 7th March, we hosted the first meeting of East Surrey horticultural societies. Richard Tabor, Chairman of Surrey Horticultural Federation, chaired it admirably. The societies range between 10 and 150 years old and have between 15 and 1000 members each! This first meeting will hopefully lead on to greater collaboration between us and we can gain strength from each other.

Find out about all of their programmes at https://surreyhorticulturalfederation.org/




Our bulb planting in Memorial Park reminds us 
year on year of our fantastic volunteers! 


On Saturday 26 October 2019 at The Merstham Hub, everyone enjoyed the fruit and veg share, honey tasting and making grass seed hedgehogs at the Let's Taste Autumn event.
There was also seasonal food on sale in the Merstham Mix café.



A selection of goodies at Let's taste Autumn


Local honey is tasty!


At the Community Fun Day at The Merstham Hub on Saturday 31 August 2019
with Cllr Keith Foreman, the Mayor of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and 
his wife Helen Forman, the Mayoress

ABOUT US

         Growing Redhill is a community gardening group based in the Redhill area of Surrey. You don't have to be a skilled                  gardener to join, just enthusiastic! Since 2008 we've been helping people to 'grow their own' successfully in the Redhill 
         area. We also maintain the flower planters at Merstham Station. 

        Be a friend for a fiver

        You can be a friend of Growing Redhill for a fiver for the whole year. Visit our 'Join us' page to pay £5.50 via Paypal,                which includes a Paypal transaction fee. Please remember to provide your contact details. Or else bring £5.00 to one of            our events when up and running again.

        You will be supporting our local gardening activities that will benefit local people.

        If you want to be more involved, a number of our activities are unique opportunities for members only. 

         Contact

        Debbie Fox, Chair

        Growing Redhill 

        Email: secretary@growingredhill.co.uk 

        Tel: 07717 678968. 


        

     A decade of Growing Redhill


It is not widely known that Growing Redhill has completed a decade of community gardening.

We have always been a modest group in size, evolving over the years according to what local people need. Nowadays, we make donations and give start-up advice to local groups wanting to ‘grow their own’. This is especially when they would not otherwise be able to afford it.

Our early activities included some food growing and building a stag beetle loggery on land in Merstham. We were part of a wider group called Sustainable Redhill. Then:

·       In November 2008, Growing Redhill really took off. We had a donation of tools from Fiskar's Orange Thumb community initiative. We started to help local people to 'grow their own' through a formal Landshare Agreement on land in Merstham and worked more in partnership with local organisations. 


·       At the beginning of 2011, we relaunched our website at www.growingredhill.co.uk


·       In 2011, we worked with Merstham Station’s owners to install large flower planters at Merstham Station and we have run them ever since. Commuters and other travellers have enjoyed everything from traditional English herbs to tropical banana plants. Following a break in 2018, while we became a formal station partner, we are back with a colourful splash!


·       By 2013, we had up to 20 plots occupied by local residents as well as bee hives on the half-acre growing site in Merstham, Surrey, with kind permission of the landowner. 


·       Over time, our novice growers fledged onto proper allotment plots – or else took their new found skills to new areas with growing families. We chose to return the site to the landowner in 2014. 


·       Since 2010, we’ve held five ‘Free Fruit Days’ at which we’ve redistributed up to 400kg home grown fruit in a day on Reigate High Street. Our members have also been out and about year on year, picking unwanted local fruit – some of which went to the Merstham Loveworks food bank in 2017. 


·       In 2013, we were given £2,000 by a benefactor. We started to spend the grant and got a gardening project off the ground at Warwick School, Redhill with installation of large raised planters and a lunchtime gardening club.


·       Since 2014, we’ve worked together with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council in Memorial Park, Redhill. Once the park was re-opened, we helped to plant up the new sensory garden. Since then, we’ve planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs that now create a colourful splash every spring.


·       In 2015, we won a Mayor of Reigate and Banstead’s Volunteer Team of the Year Award.


·       Since 2016, we’ve worked annually with The Challenge and young people on the National Citizenship Scheme to give them an opportunity to grow life skills. Here’s a message from Team Reiss who we worked with in Summer 2018:

"It is becoming more and more evident within society today that not enough people are going outside. This reveals a gateway into a grim future for the next generations as well as the current. Physical illness, mental illness and a fragmented society. Help us campaign for a better, brighter, greener future."





Team Reiss get their campaign started with Debbie Fox from Growing Redhill

        Here's a taste of what we have done in more recent years...

        In summer 2019, we mounted a pop-up exhibition at Merstham Mix Cafe on a decade of Growing Redhill.  

        On a wet Wednesday in August 2019, we offered a planting activity for children in Redhill Town Centre. This was in                celebration of National Allotments Week.
    On 6 July 2019 , we enjoyed hearing stories of the last 10 years of our community gardening at our Annual Meeting. It            was held at Merstham Mix Cafe.
                   
        In summer 2018, we gave a small grant to Welcare, which was very pleased with the resourcing of its ‘Smellie Wellie’                family gardening project in Redhill.




Planting up wellies with fragrant herbs


Our annual general meeting in 2018 was held in scorching sunshine in the Chair's garden.


The bunting was out in Chair Debbie’s garden for our 2018 AGM

There was a bumper crop of apples locally in the autumn of 2017. So we went picking with kind permissions from The Feathers Pub and a landowner on Church Hill, Merstham. Some of the fruit went to the Loveworks food bank in Merstham.


National Citizenship Scheme - Aug takeover!

The NCS Perham Team took over from 19-26 August 2017! Nine young people from as far afield as Croydon and Nutfield planned a sponsorship day, a volunteering day and campaign day. They raised over £230 for Growing Redhill's community projects. You can use the 'Donate online' link at the bottom of this page to give whatever you can.

Welcome Perham Team!

Space to grow project

We want to help more people in Redhill and the surrounding area to 'grow their own'. Do you know someone who cannot afford to grow? Or would your group benefit from our support? Contact secretary@growingredhill.co.uk


           Membership and benefits

        

As a member of Growing Redhill, you will have access to unique opportunities for growing locally, meeting like-minded people and passing your gardening skills to others. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a member.                   Contact secretary@growingredhill.co.uk.  Join us or donate online