#SparkSomethingGood in London
People we support, Brandon Trust staff, and Marks & Spencer (M&S) volunteers came together on 29 July to transform an allotment plot we had secured in Anerley SE20 in London. This was all part of a London-wide initiative by M&S, endorsed by actress Joanna Lumley, to spark something good (#SparkSomethingGood) in local communities with volunteer support to complete 24 projects in 24 hours. We were gifted the materials and tools used.
The plot is available for people to use seven-days-a-week with the help of a key safe box at the entrance to the secured site, which is tucked away in a residential area of South London. It truly is a little oasis for people to enjoy however they wish, be it for leisure, gaining skills in gardening and growing flowers and vegetables, or meeting new people naturally within the wider community.
Just over the border into Bromley, it's close to where we currently support people in Croydon, Wandsworth and Southwark, and just down the hill from Crystal Palace where our respite themed hotel City Breaks is situated. Guests staying at City Breaks, who are interested in using the facility, will have an added activity to enjoy close by. Unmanned, we'll be relying on volunteers to keep it going and staff who may be supporting people to use the plot.
On the volunteer day, six people we support came to help and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Julia, who arranged for David and Lisa Grant, a married couple we support several times a week, to come said "Yesterday was really great. It was good to do something a bit different. Lisa and David had a brilliant time and were raving about it all the way back home."
For those of us that were there from 8am to 8pm it was a really tiring day and many of us, including myself, were aching all over but also feeling really positive and proud of what we achieved together as a team. We worked with some people we'd never met before, but we bonded over a great project.
Ultimately, we'd love to see this turn into a social enterprise, but for now it is a wonderful opportunity to get involved in doing something active in a calm environment, which will bring a natural well-being for those who choose to use it.
Placements & Marketing Manager