A key objective of the Planet Woking programme is to inspire and involve the local community to make, or continue to make, changes to live a greener, more sustainable life. We would love to hear from individuals, community groups and businesses willing to share their own eco experiences.
We caught up with Rebecca Bradshaw (pictured), professional gardener and West Byfleet resident for 30 years and one of the founders of West Byfleet Community Gardening Group, to find out how they’re greening their local neighbourhood.
Where it all started…
“I am passionate about gardening; learning from parents, grandparents and my great aunts, who all had abundant gardens and grew much of their own food. During lockdown my garden was my haven and I became a gardener for friends and neighbours. I now garden professionally and am studying for my garden design diploma. As well as gardening, my other passion is being environmentally-conscious and supporting projects that help wildlife to thrive. In 2010, my husband and I won the “small garden” category in the Woking in Bloom competition in 2010 where we used insect species to self-regulate and avoid using any pesticides (for example, encouraging lacewings to eat aphids etc). Last year, I completed an outdoor learning qualification with Surrey Wildlife Trust and I am also working on a voluntary level with Cobham Polyapes and local scout groups to help green up their spaces and create wildlife gardens. I find that being part of the Gardening Group allows me to follow many of my passions: being outside, gardening, meeting different people and also like-minded people, and doing something positive for the local climate and wildlife.”
The seed of an idea…
“My friend and fellow environmentalist, Louisa, had the idea of creating a local gardening group. With support from another friend, keen gardener and conservationist, Kristine, we setup West Byfleet Community Gardening Group (WBCGG) to help green-up where we live.
We created a Facebook group and since February 2020 we have gained 116 members who join in, take part and support the group in whatever way they can. During lockdown the group has been a great source of support for people who were having to shelter due to Covid-19, by providing a window to what was being achieved in their neighbourhood. We are as much about the community as we are about the gardening.”
A greener future
WBCGG’s ambitions are coming to fruition and the group recently received the exciting news that they have successfully “adopted” West Byfleet Railway Station. The group is now planning to bring the station back to life and make it more diverse for wildlife. This follows recent planting of bulbs and saplings in Birch Green and at West Byfleet Recreation Ground in October 2020. What’s more, the group has also been contacted by a neighbouring community group in Sheerwater that is keen to green up their space in a similar way. WBCGG is looking forward to getting involved. The group is keen to welcome new members – no previous gardening experience required, just a passion to safeguard the local environment. To find out more search ‘West Byfleet Community Gardening Group’ on Facebook.
Planet Woking would like to thank Rebecca for taking the time to put this inspiring case study together. If you have any questions, please get in touch via the Planet Woking email address: firstname.lastname@example.org