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Project Wild Thing- Do we REALLY need to be told to take our kids outside?

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on January 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

"It's not the kids who dont want to put their hands in the mud or jump in a pon, it's the adults who have said no."

~ Chris Packham, Project Wild Thing. 

How much time do your children spend playing outside away from home, making dens and having adventures?


This film is the work of David Bond, a dad who had real concerns that his city children were spending far more time indoors than he ever did.


So we saw Project Wild Thing (PWT)last night- it's an interesting film which stimulated a lot of disccusion afterwards. Thanks to Tim Neville and the team for hosting the evening at Goldsmiths in Downham. 



First thing of note- lots of this is filmed in and around Lewisham! And Eltham reps hard too! Well done to the lovely girls from Eltham Hill for taking part!


PWT is alternately funny and sad, exasperating and exhilarating. As children, we were always being accused of watching too much TV (Ninja turtles! Get in!) - but then we also took the dog out and raced round adventure playgrounds with other kids from our road.


Project Wild Thing claims that most millennial children are cooped up inside playing Fifa and umbilically attached to their Ipads, and essentially they seldom venture outside- accompanied or otherwise.


So is it true? Have 'rainy day' activities really become everyday activities?


PWT would have it that children literally don't know what they're missing because they've probably never been to a wood or a beach and they aren't allowed further than the end of the street- "No wonder 60% of British Children have never climbed a tree." David Bond laments.

Photo: Lewisham Scouts meeting chickens for the first time!

Unnecessarily large portions of the film are taken up with advertising professionals "marketing nature" to the public. It's profoundly aggravating to have people who earn their livings teaching children to be lazy consumers, attempting to sell nature- WHICH IS FREE- back to them.


That said, the film also features a group of mums drinking coffee around a kitchen table; one smiles as she tells her friends that she simply doesn't trust her son to walk to the corner shop. She know's he'll be fine, but 'you know!'. And they all laugh.


It reminded me of work colleague who cracked up as she recalled her 18yr old son had called home from university every night for 2 weeks because he had run out of money for take away food and couldn't cook for himself. She hadnt prepared him for life without her and she couldnt have been happier. How she laughed.


Don't we want confident, independent and curious children any more? Dont we want children who wont be afraid when they see an earthworm or shriek if they get mud on their jeans?

Photo: A Lewisham Scout getting close to nature while playing hide and seek in hi-vis  :D. 


The SIXTY (!!) Advertising Execs in the film come up with ideas for marketing nature on billboards, on screens in shopping malls and a mobile app. The moment I held my head in my hands came when they produced a sheet to go into hospital packs for new parents. Gah! Seriously?! Do we really need to be told to take our own children outside?


Well apparently we do! We're all double busy on the phone and ordering bathroom tiles off the internet and haven't the time to even think about playing pooh sticks or rolling down a grassed bank. But if that's the case, where are the uncles, aunts, grandparents and family friends?!


How far have we strayed from what was the norm just 20 years ago?


Now we need a movie and 30metre billboard to tell us that a little rain doesn't hurt! Honestly my heart sank watching young people talking about the outside as cold and dirty and worrying about fiendish predators around every corner.

Photo: Lewisham kids discovering Lewisham worms and LOVING it! 

There are NO EXCUSES! We're so blessed in our part of London:- there are 85 community gardens in Lewisham and award winning parks with woods and lakes and huge wooden forts. We have 3 local rivers with wading access, plus nature reserves in almost every ward.

We have the huge and heavily wooded Beckenham Place Park and close by, Sydenham Hill Woods, Oxleas Woods, Elmstead Woods- they are all short bus rides away. And they're all all FREE!


Photo: The Adventure playground, Ladywell Fields SE4

So what are YOU waiting for...permission? Are we all so compliant and dependent on council leaflets that we havent the gumption to Google 'Green spaces Lewisham'? Do we only go to places with cafes and visitor's centres now.


Go see the film and then check the Lewisham Gardens site and Twitter feed for 100s of ideas for outdoor activities and events in your part of Lewisham.

Also check the Nature Conservation Lewisham blog (A Councill website), The Creekside Centre in Deptford and the numerous local walking groups, park friends' groups... 

These are community spaces- so make use of them or ready yourself to be talk your kid through making microwave jacket potatoes  sometime in September 2023.

Funding available for nature, art and wildlife projects

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on January 7, 2014 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)


The City of London Growing Localities Awards 2013/14

Celebrating excellence in using nature to enhance and improve local communities

Does your organisation use nature to improve people's lives?

 Enter the Growing Localities Award

A total of £2,500 prize money is being offered to projects which use nature to enhance and improve local communities and the lives of vulnerable or socially excluded people, generating positive outcomes such as health and well-being, new skills and knowledge, new relationships, and a sense of purpose and belonging.


This year, entries are invited for projects and initiatives in London that involve any one or combination of:

  • GARDENING AND GROWING FOOD – for communal eating and small-scale enterprise
  • LOOKING AFTER ANIMALS – bees, chickens, pigs, etc for the experience of care but also to farm
  • NATURE-THEMED ARTS AND CRAFTS – woodcraft, photography, film-making, writing, etc
  • EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES ABOUT NATURE AND WILDLIFE – including trips and excursions to teach people about flora and fauna
  • RECLAIMING AND DEVELOPING WASTELAND – projects initiated and led by residents and tenants
  • ‘GREEN’ EXERCISE – groups for walking, cycling, running, etc with a nature theme

 Entries are invited from not-for-profit organisations in the capital such as: 

  • Community-based and voluntary organisations
  • Faith groups
  • Health organisations
  • Homeless agencies
  • Hospices
  • Prisons
  • Resident committees
  • Schools
  • Social housing providers
  • Social care providers
  • Supported housing providers (providing mental health services, substance misuse, learning disabilities, etc)


Entries will be judged based on criteria including:

Originality – the distinctiveness and memorability of the project idea

Replicability – how others could be inspired by and run similar projects themselves

Reach - the numbers of people involved in the project, particularly in engaging the wider community

Diversity - of people engaged, particularly those who are ‘hard to reach’ or have challenging needs and who are brought together with the local community

Impact – of the project (demonstrated qualitatively or quantitatively) on people’s health, well-being, relationships, skills, knowledge, sense of purpose and belonging.


Deadline for entries – Friday, January 24th, 2014

Shortlist announced – End of February 2014

Winners announced – April 2014


Rules and procedures

Entries must be completed using this entry form and submitted electronically here

Receipt of all entries submitted online will be automatically acknowledged.

Entrants may be asked to provide further information.

The judges' decision is final. Awards will be made at the judges' discretion and no correspondence will be entered into concerning any decision. Not all the awards advertised may be awarded if the judges consider the criteria have not been met. Additional commendations may be made at the judges' discretion.

The content of any entry may be used for informing other practitioners and also for publicity purposes unless the entrant withholds their consent to this in writing.

Entrants are deemed to have accepted these rules and procedures and to have agreed to be bound by them when entering this competition.

For more information on the awards and to enter click here.

Lee: Manor House Gardens- Help Build a Bug Hotel . Sat 30 November

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on November 27, 2013 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)
This Saturday there is a large community planting event at Manor House Gardens. In addition there is also a very special wildlife task for children! message from the Friends Of Manor House Gardens Calling All children! We need your help to build our bug hotels in Manor House gardens this Saturday at noon. And we need supplies! Do you have spare:- plant pots, card board tubes, roofing felt , corrugated card/roofing, pine cones, logs, sand, dry leaves, moss, pipes of various diameter, rubble, stones, hollow cane, plastic bottles, hollow bricks, roof tiles, straw- please bring it along! If you can pop along to the park for 12 on Saturday with your supplies. We can build a bug hotel together and find some bugs to put in it. Opportunity to tidy up the end of your garden and give what you find to a wonderful community use. Please spread the word! Email: [email protected]

Catford Bulbs in Bloom- Help 'green up' Catford this Autumn!

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on November 5, 2013 at 1:05 PM Comments comments (1)

This autumn Lewisham Gardens will be working with Catford community groups to 'Green Up' their streets and outside spaces.

The project will be happening in the Catford South Ward. 

We have thousands of bulbs for community groups- Daffodils and Narcissi, Tulips, Alliums, Crocus...all you have to do is sign up!



1. Your group, organisation or street should fall within Caford South Ward.

2. The bulbs need to planted in a public space.

3. Send in photos of your bulb planting event- by email or to Facebook..

4. In Spring 2014 - let us know how the flowers are doing! 

And that's it!  


Sign up for Catord Bulbs in Bloom!

The Project Facebook Page

How to plant your FREE bulbs!

Deptford: Assembly SE8- The Old Tidemill School Project

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on October 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Assembly SE8 are a group of articsts and gardeners who are transforming the Old Tidemill SChool , Frankham Street;  SE8 4RN.

They are among several Lewisham community gardens  which have been awarded Pocket Park status. 

This Saturday they start their BIG TREE HOUSE BUILD and need local people to rally round! 

Carpenters most welcome! THe build is being filmed by a South Korean Tv Film crew who are reporting on the Mayor of London's POcket Parks scheme

Join them on Saturday 26th October 12 - 4pm

Tree House Build & South Korean TV!


Do it With Others (D.i.W.O.)-  Every Saturday in November

There are big plans afoot to make use of the Pocket Park funding to transform the garden and playground so that the space can become more accessible and inviting for everyone. However, for these plans to succeed, we really need your help.


Unlike DIY, which at times can be tedious and more often than not, purely frustrating, we thought the term ‘Do It With Others’ better suits how we want to transform the space in the coming months. What better way to be creative and have fun than do it with other people and go through the process together? This is why we are starting the D.i.W.O Club, so that you can get involved in physically changing this place and making it your own in the process.


Starting off this Saturday we're be building our second treehouse, our deluxe red shed space and our outside kitchen!

Contact: : [email protected]

Horniman Museum- family nature events

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on June 26, 2013 at 12:50 PM Comments comments (0)

There are some fantastic upcoming family events exploring different aspects of animals and nature at the Horniman Museum and Gardens as part of the Family Festival of Fieldwork as detailed below.

Small Mammals: Furry Friends or Urban Pests


Saturday 6th July, 10.30am-12.00pm

We will be walking along the nature trail to look in mammal traps to see if any small creatures have been visiting at night time. Our Curator of Natural History will be talking about the types of animals that we find and there will be a chance to dissect and owl pellet to see what they have eaten as well. There will also be some of our animal taxidermy to handle on the day.

£4 per child, accompanying adults go free

Bugs in our Gardens


Saturday 13th July, 10.30am-12.45pm


Come down to our nature trail to meet minibeast expert ‘Bugman’ Richard Jones and Nature expert Jim Murphy to help to collect insects and pond life. Find out all about the minibeasts that live there. You can have a go at lots of different insect collecting techniques with net sweeping, pond dipping, leaf sifting and more.


£4 per child, accompanying adults go free


Alien Invaders – FREE EVENT


Saturday 20th July, 11.00am-2.00pm


‘Bugman’ Richard Jones will be back at the Horniman museum giving talks about different alien and invasive species like parakeets and grey squirrels which have made their home in London and join in with our big ladybird hunt in the gardens to see what you can find!


Free drop-in event, talks may be ticketed if busy on the day


Information and booking for the events can be found here.

Forest Hill: THe Horniman Nature Explorers- Autumn Spooks and Skeletons

Posted by Chrissie on October 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Nature Explorers: Autumn Spooks and Skeletons

Every Tue/Thu from 30 October 2012 to 1 November 2012

11.30am - 12.30pm

1.45pm - 2.45pm

3.15pm - 4.15pm

Location: Horniman Museum, Gardens Pavilion SE23


Do all animals have bones? Which part of a plant has a skeleton? Discover the secrets of skeletons and search for spooks out in the gardens. Dress up warm and prepare for a scare in this Horniman Halloween special.

Please note that creative indoor sessions will run in the event of very wet weather.


Activities are designed for families with children aged 6+. £2 per participating child, adults free.

Purchase tickets from Information Desk on day.

Sydenham: Nature Club for Older Children

Posted by Lewisham Gardens on August 6, 2012 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)


Learn fun ways to work with nature and people!


Time: 10.30am to midday, last Sunday of each month at Grow Mayow Community Garden, Sydenham

Hosted by Ruth and Suriya

Photos ©

Where: Grow Mayow Community Garden, Sydenham,  behind the Pavilion (Near the Burghill Road entrance to Mayow Park,


Parking on Mayow Road or bus 75)


Sessions start promptly. Max: 15 kids per session


For more information and to book a place for your child phone :


T: 07766 596600 email : [email protected]


Price: £2 per session per child – Booking preferred


Special Event


On the 25th March 2012 Permaculture Kids Club will be looking at the soil in some depth and discovering some its secrets….


Come along and join us!


Blackheath Society Big Family Picnic

Posted by Robin Teel on June 19, 2012 at 1:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Blackheath Society Big Family Picnic



The Blackheath Society are promoting their free Big Family Picnic to be held on the Heath on Sunday 24th June, from 12.30pm to 3.30pm to mark the 75th anniversary of the Society.


Bring your own picnic to "just off Talbot Place", SE3 0TZ.


The official opening of the "Hub On The Heath" will be at 1:30pm and there will be a cash bar and free entertainment for all the family.

Gardens of Sydenham

Posted by Jenny on May 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Gardens of Sydenham @ Grow Mayow Community Garden,

Mayow Park,  Sydenham.

The Chelsea Fringe events in Sydenham are led by Iris Borgers of Grow Mayow, and they will be about celebrating gardening!

This will be anything to do with people looking after plants, from bedding plants in a border to wild flowers and trees in woodland. We want to inspire people to learn more about plants, and get more gardening done, whether themselves, or finding a gardener to help them with a garden they are not sure what to do with.

Botanical drawing

11am -3pm

Saturday May 26  

Enjoy a great day drawing in the garden take your penicls, ink, paint, and come and enjoy the garden. If you dont have materials we can provide.

Permaculture club for kids with Ruth & Suriya

10.30 -12 pm

Sunday May 27 

 £3 p child.


Special film show from the littlegreenscrenecinema

Saturday June 2nd 

Web: /   Email: [email protected]

Big Jubilee Lunch

Sunday June 3rd 

bring your food and share with friends neighbours and community

Sow and grow sessions

Saturday June 9 

Time and details- please contact Iris at Grow Mayow

Pop up cafe every weekend and a Aussie BBQ outside the pavilion!

Web:   Email: [email protected]