Global Generation’s next big step is our move to the Story Garden on an acre of meanwhile space at the British Library. Even though the new garden site is less than a mile away from the current Skip Garden, it is important to us that it should have its own identity and its own name. The process of naming has a way of evoking the spirit of a place. It is an accolade that, at least in London, the Skip Garden has become a symbol of what a community garden is. However focusing on the skips alone misses the point; it is the people and the process behind the skips that are the heart and soul of the garden. King’s Cross, and especially Somers Town, is laced with many different communities who all have their own story to tell.
Nearly a year ago now, we entered into a process of consultation with the British Library and their site developer Stanhope; together we reached out to the local Somers Town Community through a series of consultation events. We were keen to know what local people wanted from the garden, how they wanted to use it and what it should be called. Many names were discussed and voted on including a Woven Garden, a Seedling Garden and a Library Garden. In the end, the Story Garden proved to be the most popular name for Global Generation’s new home.
Now work is well underway and with the help of contractors and many volunteers, the Story Garden name is making sense. We are often asked, “why a story garden?” As well as being close to a famous library, these first months of bringing an empty brownfield site to life are in many ways a story making process. An overarching vision that conveys our hopes for the garden is becoming more apparent.
For Millennia people have sat in circles and made sense of their world through stories; we are a story making species. At the Story Garden we invite children, young people, families and people of all ages to take part in the biggest story of all; the story of the natural world. Through hands on involvement, together we are growing a living story.
Already there have been many people involved in growing the story. The GLA’s Greener Cities Fund meant we could buy the most essential materials to make a garden happen i.e. screws and soil! And with the support of People’s Local Trust we have been able to run workshops for our local community to get involved in the gardens creation. We have facilitated hands-on carpentry and gardening sessions with groups from Hopscotch, New Horizons and Haverstock School and facilitated carpentry evenings every Wednesday evening with at least 10-15 volunteers coming along to help out. It’s been a pleasure to watch so many volunteers grow their skills and confidence in carpentry and get stuck in with the build of this community space.
Camden Giving and Somers Town Big Local have contributed to some of our staffing costs, helping us open the Story Garden five days a week and offer projects for young people and residents throughout the year.
In addition we have been joined by teams of volunteers every week in May, June and July from the British Library, Stanhope, CSJV, MACE, Caravan, Wellcome, Department for BEIS and Denstu Aegis who have not only donated their time and effort but materials too!
The paint for the beautiful blue hoarding wall was donated to us by Stanhope, who have also installed viewing windows to invite curious passers-by in. Almost every single planter has been built by reclaimed scaffold boards, all of which were donated to us by Alltask! Keir Construction laid foundations for the community kitchen while CSJV donated 100 tonnes of wood chip and 8 skips ready to be turned into our iconic skip planters. BAM picked up much needed windows for our office, Maylim dropped off materials for the garden and Lawsons picked up our iconic yellow sheds donated to us by British Land.
We’ve been humbled by the generosity of the local community of residents and workers who are so excited to see this garden flourish. We hope you will join us to celebrate the beginning of Story Garden on July 13th as part of Somers Town Festival!