MHPRA members are or 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.
Plant sale in aid of charity: May 2020
MHPRA members Anna Dargavel and Marcia Hurst usually open their gardens in Mill Hill Road, London W3, under the National Garden Scheme (NGS). This year, they arranged a socially distanced plant sale in front of Marcia’s house. They raised a total of £375.80 for the National Garden Scheme’s charities.
Carol singing in aid of Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter Programme: December 2017
A group of MHPRA members got together to sing carols in the Mill Hill Park area to raise funds for the Ealing Churches Winter Night Shelter programme, in which our local church, St Mary’s Acton, participates. The programme provides emergency accommodation for those at risk of rough sleeping locally and the ‘hidden’ homeless and runs from the end of November until the end of March. The group raised £207.
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 volunteers turned up on a Saturday, kitted in boots and gloves, and with spare garden tools, to bed in some 300 new plants (the ground having 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 regeneration 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 in the town centre.
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.
Community orchard planted: February 2012
In February 2012, the MHPRA planted a community orchard in Heathfield Nature Garden with the help of the London Orchard Project and Ealing Transitions. The joint initiative 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. The orchard planting received funding from the Big Tree Plant, a nationwide initiative.
Despite freezing temperatures, volunteers from the MHPRA and Ealing Transitions planted 16 fruit trees: apple, pear, and plum trees, an apricot and a medlar.
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.