Friends of Wilton Square
5 star rating for exclusive 'Twig Hotel' created by Wilton Square residents on community gardening day!
‘Friends of Wilton Square’ is a small group of local residents who look after the planting and public spaces on Wilton Square, Wilton Villas and Baring Street. We are a diverse community culturally, socially and in terms of age. Our residents are drawn from approximately 70 households. In addition, St Martin of Tours, a residential centre that provides mental healthcare and accommodation is situated on the corner of Wilton Square and forms an important part of our community.
In May this year St Martin’s organised a community gardening day in Wilton Square. They provided a team from ‘Social Space’ to help organise local residents and members from St Martin’s to tidy up the square. It was an enormous success and gave us the impetus to carry on the work to the square that had fallen by the wayside in recent years. With renewed acquaintances and new friends from the community we have re-established regular gardening days on the first Sunday of every month. In addition to this a number of keen local residents pop into the square when they have time to do the odd bit of weeding or dead- heading the plants.
‘Friends of Wilton Square’ was set up about 30 years ago. In 2007 the group was ‘constituted ‘by Islington Council which resulted in them being recognised by the Metropolitan Police and qualified to set up a bank account. In 2011 the group signed Islington’s ‘Friends of’ Charter.
How would this funding have an impact on your community?
Wilton Square is used by many members of our community from dog owners, residents of St Martin’s, families picnicking plus organised Easter egg hunts, Infant School’s sports days, Halloween parties etc. plus people who just want to sit and read or watch the world go by. It is a challenging area as the square is dominated by very grand London plane trees that provide a large canopy over the square creating a lot of shade. This can make planting decisions more demanding. The trees deposit a fair amount of twig and leaf litter.
Our aim as a community is to be inclusive. We regularly meet with the management of St Martin’s and after the success of the Community gardening day are keen to incorporate more interactive opportunities for their residents including gardening, an art exhibition of the resident’s work, social events and Open days. In addition our community is diverse culturally, socially and covers a wide age range from babies to elderly residents living alone. The community gardening days and events create opportunities for sharing skills and knowledge as well as providing practical help. As a community it enables us to communicate with each other with a common purpose.
During the community gardening day the children collected fallen twigs and built a ‘Twig hotel’ providing a habitat for insects and wildlife. We are keen to develop ideas like this and create more outdoor ‘learning’ opportunities for the whole community. Some areas around the perimeter which are barren and devoid of plants could be developed as animal habitats using a variety of materials. We are also interested in building a ‘dry river’, a river shaped area created by using pebbles and other materials that when walked on bare footed would be sensory. In addition we would like to create a wild flower garden, and a community vegetable patch.
Our objective is to create a calm, relaxing environment that has elements of fun and mystery. There are areas around the perimeter that are woody that lend themselves to hunting for ‘Gruffaloes’ and stumbling across an unusual habitat! We are mindful of the bio diversity of the square which we want to protect and develop but are keen to create an environment that can be educational, creative and fun in addition to offering a sanctuary for all the different strands of our unique community. For all these reasons your support would make an enormous difference to help our square grow and blossom into a living community project.
"Bringing communities together through looking after a shared space can be an enriching experience, learning new things, sharing skills and ideas and making new friends."