Hammersmith Reflections – Award Winning Secret Gardens Open Saturday 9 June

Hammersmith United Charities is thrilled to announce the charity has won two awards at the London Gardens Society Competition for each of its two sheltered housing schemes for older people.  Sycamore House won third place for the large community gardens at the awards ceremony. However, community gardener Jackie Thompson was particularly pleased to receive first prize and the Challenge Cup for John Betts House in the small community gardens category.

You have a once in a year opportunity to visit both secret gardens as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend on Saturday 9th June between 2pm and 5pm. Tickets at the door £4 or at www.opensquares.org for all gardens across London open at the weekend, children up to 11 go free.

 

Tilly and the Challenge Cup

After several years of second and third places, and facing stiff competition from rival Almshouses, the internal garden courtyard at John Betts House, achieved the accolade under the leadership of Jackie (and trusty helper, Tilly the dog!) “It feels brilliant, because it’s a lot of work. It’s judged on RHS guidelines, with points for immediate colour, points for tidiness and cleanliness, points for proper use of plants in the right place and sustainability,” Jackie said.

Jackie joined the charity in December 2003 and built the garden up with the help from volunteer garden residents.  The secluded garden was used to dump rubble from building work when John Betts House was refurbished in 1998, so digging has proved to be very difficult.

Given the challenge the garden presents, Jackie explained one of the ways to improve it was to plant above soil level. This means the garden is filled with hanging baskets and raised beds, where residents can plant vegetables and fruits in the summer.  The focal piece of the garden is the series of arches which are covered with plants and grasses and which Jackie changes every year.

John Betts House

Of course, the overall appearance of the garden is enhanced by the array of hanging baskets, pots and plants which are created by the residents and adorn the balconies surrounding the main courtyard garden. These balconies were recognised at the London Gardens Society awards, as residents James Geraghty (Sycamore House) and Clodagh Corcoran (John Betts House) won third place in the Balcony and Container displays category at the Almshouses Residents’ Garden Competition.

Clodagh, who has lived at John Betts House for more than four years, explained she loves looking out onto the garden and enjoying the peace it offers.  “I love the garden here. I like looking at the colour, the peace in this garden, you could cut it, it’s so quiet and lovely. There are always tiny birds moving around, very early in the morning picking up insects, its lovely, there’s a whole world out there,” Clodagh said.  “We wouldn’t have a garden if it wasn’t for Jackie, she built it from gravel up. Everybody loves the garden, people who come here, and it had never occurred to them to have a flower pot and she has encouraged them.”

Jackie said she is motivated by the fact she has created something beautiful for the residents to enjoy and residents who have never had an interest in gardening now relish spending time on their balcony displays, including Kate Macdonald who spends every day tending to her red geraniums.  “I like that I have created in both places a very nice place to live, that makes people feel at home, that they feel secure and there’s stimulation in colour and texture and perfume,” Jackie added. “It’s all about creating a home for birds and insects as well, its wildlife. Especially in a city it’s really important…it’s like a little hidden paradise.”

John Betts House Resident Kate

 

John Betts House has added even more to its natural ‘wow’ factor given by the design that conceals its garden completely from garden view.  The garden now contains newly painted benches, a new fountain and swing seat for residents to enjoy, bought with funds from one of the Open Garden Squares event held every year at the gardens.

The London Gardens Society awards come at a very special time for the charity as it celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2018. For this reason, the residents of Sycamore House and John Betts House would like to invite the local community to visit the secret, beautiful and award-winning gardens at the next Open Garden Squares event held on Saturday 9 June 2018 and encourage keen local gardeners to keep in touch in order to be updated on our very own gardeners question time in September.

Amani Hughes

May 2018

Hammersmith United Charities Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

In line with Government advice, Hammersmith United Charities has invoked our Business Continuity Plan and implemented a new operating model focussed on keeping the residents of our Almshouses, our team, contractors and partners safe and well during the Coronavirus pandemic. (more…)

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100 Hammersmith children reach out to local older people in lockdown arts project

Over 100 children in Hammersmith have reached out to local older people through the coronavirus lockdown, in an uplifting intergenerational arts project called Dreaming Forest. Children and older people have been sharing their hopes, dreams and memories by decorating wooden birch leaves and posting them to each other. The leaves will be shared with the wider community in an art installation in October.

“It was a joy to bring together two generations who have had to stay apart for so many months,” said Victoria Hill, chief executive of Hammersmith United Charities (HUC), which provides local sheltered housing and led the project. “We wanted people – old and young – to enjoy the magic of unwrapping a parcel to find a unique message from someone reaching out to them.

“It’s so important to us that our residents feel happy, fulfilled and connected to their community. It’s been very difficult for them during lockdown, as we’ve had to restrict visitors to keep our residents safe,” Victoria said. “This was something small we could do to help. The leaves are made of birch, which symbolises hope and the promise of new beginnings – and we could all do with some of that.”

“Receiving something like this from children, it means a lot. It just lifted me from the lockdown – we have all been feeling low,” said Kitty, who lives at Sycamore House in Hammersmith and hasn’t been able to have a visitor all summer. “That the children at school and teachers were thinking of us: it went a long way. The whole thing is a lovely gesture,” she said.

“Our children loved receiving their leaf packages through the post and taking part in the Dreaming Forest project. Using water colours was a new experience for some of our little ones!” said a Year 1 teacher from Old Oak Primary School.

Dreaming Forest was a collaboration between Hammersmith United Charities, artist and researcher Carolyn Defrin along with Wendell Park and Old Oak Primary school, Solidarity Sports and the LIDO Foundation.

Hammersmith United Charities provides quality sheltered housing for people over 60 and offers grants to community groups. For more information about the Dreaming Forest follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. To find out more about Hammersmith United Charities’ sheltered housing click here.

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community@hammersmith

HUC Film Project

Hammersmith United Charities presents community@hammersmith, a film project to celebrate our grantees’ work and hopefully help bring some fun and light into 2020. Our aim is to build a video picture of the enormous value of local organisations, provide an insight into what community means in Hammersmith and help our grantees build their capacity to use film as a medium to tell their story to the people that matter to them.

If you are a grantee of Hammersmith United Charities, please find more information about the project and how to take part in this document.

If you have questions about the project, please email film@hamunitedcharities.com.

community@hammersmith is also supported by Electric Light Studios and Community Switch Sports.

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The City Bridge Trust awards £180,000 for the development of UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham

The City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, has awarded £180,000 to Hammersmith United Charities for the development of UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham as a place-based giving in the diverse London borough. The project links those who want to support the community with local causes in-need that will best use their investment.

The grant will be released over five years (£47,000; £43,000; £37,000; £31,000; £22,000) with a focus on core funding.

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “At a time when public finances continue to be under significant strain, place-based giving schemes like UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham are playing a really important role in tackling disadvantage in London.

“By using their grassroots knowledge of the issues which matter to local people and matching those who want to  help their community with causes in need of support, they’re doing a fantastic job of building stronger communities and helping to make the borough a fairer place in which to live and work.”

Victoria Hill, CEO of Hammersmith United Charities said “We are grateful for the support of the City Bridge Trust to further our mission to revive the spirit of local philanthropy in partnership with Dr Edwards and Bishop King’s Fulham through the creation of UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham.

“It will help continue the work that has already reached tens of thousands of people in need and bring people together to make Hammersmith and Fulham a borough where everyone thrives.”

Kevin McGrath DL OBE, Chair of UNITED in Hammersmith & Fulham, said “This grant from the City Bridge Trust means we can further important work to make our London borough a fairer place in which to work and live.

“We call for local individuals, businesses and institutions to partner with us through our activities, to ensure that local causes which are most in-need, such as homelessness, isolation, health inequality and racial disparity, are recognised and responded to in the most effective way possible.”

The City Bridge Trust, which was founded in 1995, gives £25m a year to charities fighting inequality and disadvantage in London.

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Black Lives Matter

We stand in solidarity with those making their voices heard in the fight against systemic racism.

Hammersmith United Charities stands in solidarity with those making their voices heard in the fight against systemic racism.

As a community charity in one of the most diverse areas of the UK, valuing equality and diversity is central to the way we work and we are committed to the fight against racism and prejudice.

We have a duty to the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people living in our Almshouses or working alongside us in our staff team, board and community partners to speak up. We want to let them know that we stand with them and against injustice and intolerance.

We believe that to be silent is to be complicit and so Hammersmith United Charities says with one voice that Black Lives Matter.

 


June 5th 2020: Tonight at 10pm Hammersmith & Fulham Council will be lighting Hammersmith Town Hall purple as H&F takes the knee and says with one voice that Black Lives Matter. Full statement from H&F Leader Stephen Cowan:

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