The Tower Habitats grants scheme, run by the Tower Hill Trust with assitance from the Council’s Biodiversity Officer, provides grants of up to £2000 for schools and community groups in Tower Hamlets for projects which enhance biodiversity and contribute to the objectives of the Local Biodiversity Action Plan.
Chisenhale Primary School received a grant earlier this year, and has created a fabulous new wildlife garden. Cassie Liversidge, who manages the school’s garden, tells the story:
“We have transformed our nursery playground ground from a run down and over grown, messy area into a bee and wildlife friendly garden (see photo left). We have pruned back and replanted the willow domes, which provide insects with a great habitat and provide bees and other insects with pollen from their catkins as we used two different types of willow. We have planted many herbs and flowers to attract pollinating insects and we allow lots of vegetables to go to seed so that not only do pupils learn about the plants life cycle but it also attracts lots of wildlife to our garden all year around.
We have various fruit trees planted up around the playground garden including cherry and apple trees, with stocks and herbs to attract insects. We have replanted and pruned the willow structures so that they are safe for pupils to play in but they also provide great habitat for insects. We also installed a hedgehog-nesting box within the garden hedge and we also discovered our first frog in the garden this year.
We have created a great bug exploring area with bug hotels and habitat walls (see header photo). The pupils have made bug hotels in DIY club as well as bird boxes, which were used to nest in by a family of blue tits this summer. We were lucky to have the help of a group of volunteers from a local business at Canary Wharf (photo left) to come in and help to transform our playground garden.
With thanks to your grant we have two tidy but well managed wildlife friendly gardens, which we look forward to using in lessons in the forthcoming school year. Many thanks for your support; it makes a big difference.”
Another organisation recently benefiting from a grant is the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park. Their
grant enabled them to start restoring an outgrown hedge on the edge of cemetery Park, through the traditional method of hedge laying. This involves cutting most of the way through the trunk of each shrub, just above ground level, then bending it over at the cut and weaving the cut shrubs between fixed upright poles (see photo left). The shrubs regrow and form a dense green barrier that’s great for nesting birds and other wildlife. The Friends also ran a training course for people from other local organistions, to spread the knowledge and skills of this traditional countryside craft.
There is still funding available in the Tower Habitats grants scheme, and applications are invited from schools and community groups in Tower Hamlets with suitable projects. For more details, see this flyer.
Photos by Cassie Liversidge (Chisenhale School) and Dan Hall (hedge laying)