MHPRA members have been involved in a number of initiatives to benefit the local community, raise money for charity and help improve the environment. See below for examples of these..
The National Gardens Scheme: Mill Hill Road Gardens Opened for Charity
MHPRA members Anna Dargavel and Marcia Hurst have opened their gardens in Mill Hill Road in recent years under the National Gardens Scheme.
Replanting the Crown Street Pocket Garden: October 2014
After winning funding from The South Acton Ward Forum to redesign the Crown Street Pocket Garden, a small group of MHPRA volunteeers turned up on a Saturday, kitted in boots and gloves, and with spare garden to tools. to bed in some 300 new plants (the ground had previously been cleared by the Council). The planting was designed by two MHPRA members, Anna Dargavel and Marcia Hurst. The Council has said that it sees this project as best practice for community involvement and regerneration impact. MHPRA volunteers continue to maintain the garden.
SHY ELVIS at St Mary’s Church Hall: November 2013
SHY ELVIS was back in Acton by popular demand at St.Mary’s Church Hall, 1 The Mount, W3 9NW (next to Morrisons).
MHPRA member Bert Routledge put on this fundraising evening, with all proceeds going to St.Mary’s to help continue the good work they do for the community.
Jambo Jambo Concert: October 2012
Alister Bown, a Mill Hill Park resident, organised the Jambo Jambo Concert in collaboration with MHPRA to send six young people on a life-changing trip to Africa.,.
- In total, £750 was raised directly by the Concert.
- A generous offer from HSBC to match that funding brought the total to £1,500;
- An additional £200 raised by the collection following the concert went directly to St Mary’s Church who kindly provided the venue.
- None of this would have happened, had not so many people turned up on a rather damp night; and without the sustained efforts of Alister, and of all those who performed or otherwise helped and supported.
Community Orchard Planted in Acton: February 2012
In February 2012, the Residents’ Association planted a community orchard in Heathfield Nature Gardens with the help of the London Orchard Project and Ealing Transitions.
Despite freezing temperatures, volunteers planted 16 fruit trees.
This ‘Community Orchard’ in Heathfield Nature Gardens off Gunnersbury Lane is, in part, a practical response to dwindling oil reserves and the effects of climate change. “The move towards growing your own veg has really taken off” explained Lewis McNeill from the London Orchard Project, “but the idea with urban orchards like these is to put in place a food resource which will last a hundred years or more. And once the trees are established, they are incredibly low-maintenance.”
Once Lewis had shown them how, well-wrapped-up volunteers from Mill Hill Park Residents’ Association (MHPRA) and Ealing Transition worked with pick-axes and spades alongside others to break through the crust of frozen ground, dig square holes – round ones are bad for the roots – to plant apple, pear, and plum trees, an apricot and a medlar.
“Planting the trees was the easy bit!” said Ray Batchelor, Chair, MHPRA. “Driving stakes in for protective wire mesh – that was really hard.”
This joint initiative by Mill Hill Park Residents’ Association, The London Orchard Project, and Ealing Transition was the brainchild of local resident and MHPRA member, Martin Kunz, who proposed the location. Grant Venner from Ealing Transition, Martin, and local residents Malcolm Temple and Karen Roberts were instrumental in realising this ambitious project. It is hoped that further trees will eventually be planted, and that Acton residents may be able to enjoy local fresh fruit for decades to come. This orchard planting received funding from the Big Tree Plant, a nationwide initiative which will see a million trees planted in urban locations by 2015
An historical footnote: John Forbes Royle was a British botanist, born in India in 1799, with a specialist knowledge of the plants of the Himalayas – responsible, indeed, in 1839 for introducing into Britain the now notorious Himalayan Balsam.
He lived at Heathfield Lodge, the 18th century house with later work by Sir John Soane, which stood on the site where the Community Orchard has been planted, a botanical link with history identified by local resident, Jerome Farrell.