Lambeth Poly – tunnel is up at Cherry Close, Tulse Hill Estate

Since the blog last week the tunnel has gone up at Cherry Close, Tulse Hill Estate!

Ben and the apprentices from Cultivate couldn’t have worked harder, and we had extra support from Veolia waste team and residents. It was a rare day without a single shower, and it was even sunny and hot at times.

Click here for the flickr slide show,, and click the info button top right of the page to see captions.

A successful day for engagement too. Lots of great chat with residents and workers on the esate, all supportive and encouraging. In addition, offers of support and materials. Some signing up to become volunteers for the routine maintenance and two for more formal training.  Tessy and Laura from the asset mapping Coop project popped round. Thanks to Yvonne Joseph at Lambeth Living, her colleagues and Laud the TRA chair for kettles and lots of other assistance in the day.

Film We employed Tulse Hill estate resident and film maker Eduard Vijulie to make a stop motion film of the construction. This should be fun and pleasing to watch (we’ll put it online) and serve as a visual overview for training. It will be a valuable resource when we come to replicate the project.

Problem The tunnel wasn’t completely finished, though, and that is a bit of a blow for the project. Ben can’t come back for two weeks. We have some volunteer support for continuing the build, but I had hoped to be able save all volunteer goodwill for the growing itself, not the build. Doors need fixing on, and there is some snagging to do. Having to be flexible.

Design In addition, the staging (growing tables along the sides of the tunnel) has not been started.  This is key to the labour-saving way the project was designed, with dripper bags leading to capillary matting and only needing filling up on a daily basis. Also, as the project relies on community support, staging was key to accessibility issues.  Lastly, a clearly defined and linear growing area will help all involved visualise and easily participate in the cropping cycle.

Help I am seeking handy people to at least get the doors attached.  The staging will be a two handyman job for the best part of the day. If anyone can persuade any of Lambeth’s contractors to spare a bit of time this week, that will be appreciated. Please contact Fiona on 07947 407237.

Tulse Hill Action Day 7.7.12 Resident informal workshop 1 (of 2 , or more). Residents potted up basil seedlings to grow on their windowsill.  Children carefully sowed a tray of coriander plugs. These will be ready to pot on to 9cm pots in about 3 weeks, and then for sale to Local Greens in their veg bags, for the bank holiday weekend.

Knife On the evening of the build the tunnel was slashed with a knife. Lambeth Living staff and residents alike are apalled. We feel it’s important to play it down and keep on the positive, as this easily plays into the hands of the naysayers/doubters (not that I know of any in particular). We have mended it with the assistance of some lads and children passing by, and will buy more tape.

Veolia – Robert, Dave and Peter – have been great in getting the tunnel and now supporting with getting timber, materials for growing, signage, sundries and so on. We are working to a pre-planned budget, and have been able to save on 9cm, pots, for example by reusing their empty trays of summer bedding.

Documenting I have started to compile the hard copy manual: risk assessments, training materials, my reflective notes and the model, construction manual, flyers, posters, research for signage

Please follow on twitter @lambethpoly

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