Since its founding in 2006, HUG has been involved in a number of community projects some of which are still developing. Some were experimental, whilst others were completed and evidence of their success can be seen around and about in Ham.
Watch this short video clip to hear HUG Treasurer Axel Martin, describe how some of these early projects got started and then read more about them below:
Visits to Thames Young Mariners
In August 2006, thanks to a generous donation from Sports Relief, HUG was able to take a group of twenty children, aged 8 -12 years, to Thames Young Mariners (Andres note: link lost) to learn canoeing. Two sessions were organised, they were great fun and nobody got wet!
Basketball at the Hawker Centre
An early HUG project was to give local youngsters the opportunity to learn to play basketball. In 2006, Richmond Housing Partnership (Andres note: link broken) made this plan possible by inviting Brentford Urban Academy(andres note: broken link) to organise several training events at the Hawker Centre. There was good uptake and the events were much enjoyed.
A Spring Planting Day
In October 2006 HUG organised a spring bulb planting day. Despite the rain there was a really good attendance. It included the local police team, parents and children of all ages, members of Richmond Environment Network and Richmond Housing Partnership. The resulting display in spring 2007 was very rewarding. As from 2008 this will now be an annual autumn event and the Ham Close Residents Association have expressed the wish to plant English bluebells under the trees around Ham Close.
The Bench and tiled Base in front of Ham Library
HUG then sponsored a bench in front of Ham Library and a special tiled base beneath it. The project involved several afternoons, during which over 70 residents came together to design one clay tile each. The youngest resident was just 6 months, and the oldest over 90. The tiles were fired and now form the base for the bench to sit on. The official opening ceremony took place in early May 2007. The artwork for this project, as well as for the tiles surrounding the water butt and bird table, were made by local residents and the work was facilitated and installed by local artist, Linda Griffiths, who was also involved in creating the mosaic which can be seen on the end wall of the row of shops in Ashburnham Road, opposite Ham Library.
Early Development of the Bird & Butterfly Garden at Ham Library
Following the successful setting up of the bench outside the Ham Library, HUG members agreed that, as there is at present no community centre or village hall in Ham, the Library clearly functions as the centre of the local community. However, the Library Garden was then rather barren and forlorn. HUG proposed the creation of a Bird and Butterfly Garden for the benefit of local residents and once again as many as possible volunteers were involved in the planting, advertising and upkeep of the Garden.
Between Winter 2007 and late Spring 2008, with the help of a number of local young people, HUG created two new flowerbeds from the existing three already in the Garden. One new bed was large and kidney-shaped whilst the other was smaller and round. A list of suitable plants was devised, including as many native species as possible. The round bed was planted with herbs and the kidney-shaped bed now has a selection of plants which attract butterflies and bees. Activities were held in the Library to raise awareness amongst the local community. In July 2008, the Garden received an Award of Merit in the Neighbourhood Awards category of ‘London in Bloom.'
Provision of hanging Bird Boxes and a Water Butt
In Autumn 2008, bird boxes were hung in the Garden. Keen to recycle rainwater for watering the plants, HUG also installed a water butt with a child safety lid.
Ham House Community Allotment
In 2008 HUG created our first Community Allotment on land generously loaned by Ham House. This was an exciting and successful initial attempt at growing our own food and a valuable learning experience for HUG members and helpers which paved the way towards our more recent allotment project at Grey Court School.