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Archbishop’s Park enjoys the Good Life

A new community orchard that has been created by residents out of an overgrown patch of land in an inner city park is to be used to help local school children learn about food growing and healthy eating.

Local residents joined forces with staff from Lambeth Council, the London Orchard Project and Veolia Environmental Services, to transform the disused area of Archbishop’s Park in Waterloo into a thriving new orchard earlier this year.

So far they have planted over 25 saplings including native species such as the Bramley Apple Seedling, Victoria Plum and Conference Pear along with peaches, fig and damson.

The project was led by Friends of Archbishop’s Park, a group of committed local people whose aim is to ensure Archbishop’s Park remains well maintained and provides the best facilities possible for its users.

The scheme is to encourage people to use the park whilst offering the opportunity to involve the local community in the regeneration and offer educational opportunities at the same time. The Friends will be working with the Garden Museum and locals schools to teach children about healthy eating and the cycle of food from tree to table.

Helen Lees, Chair of the Friends of Archbishop’s Park, said: “The park is used by all sectors of our community an we are fortunate to have support from local employees who are going to make us some raised beds where the children can then grow simple food like lettuce and herbs. The idea behind this is to support healthy living and get tired and stressed workers away from their desks and enjoy the outdoors whilst helping their community.”

Archbishop’s Park is one of Lambeth’s six Green Flag Award parks, the national standard for quality parks and open spaces in the United Kingdom. Because community involvement, sustainability and protection of the natural and physical environment are all key factors in securing this prestigious award, the new orchard project will help ensure the park continues to fly its Green Flag for many more years to come.

Archbishop’s Park is one of the green gems of North Lambeth. Originally part of the Lambeth Palace gardens, it was created as a public park in the early 1900s. The Friends support the needs of park users by ensuring that ideas are reflected in the development of this historic space, in partnership with Lambeth Council through a robust and effective management plan.

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Veolia Environmental Services is Lambeth Council’s waste, recycling, street cleansing and grounds maintenance contractor, responsible for maintaining 64 parks, commons and other public greenspaces.

Green Flag Award (www.greenflagaward.org.uk) is the national standard for quality parks and open spaces in the United Kingdom, and is managed by a consortium of agencies with funding from the Department of Communities. Lambeth secured six of these prestigious Green Flags in 2009, Archbishop’s Park included, as well as to Green Pennant Awards for other sites which recognises the involvement of the local community in managing their own open spaces.

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