Transition Sunderland is a newly formed group in the City, we are an Initiative of the Transition Network. Hendon Natural Community Garden (HNCG) is the name given to Transition Sunderland’s 1st project. We have used the name Hendon Natural Community Garden as a compliment to Scotswood Natural Community Garden in Newcastle, a much larger development in every aspect and a beacon of Permaculture in the North East region. Though our site is a microcosm of Scotswood Garden we feel that we must start small and show the direction which we feel we should follow to show how communities can – if given access to land – manage that land for the local community, both human & wildlife.
HNCG was originally two plots within Corporation Road Allotments (a statutory allotment). The plots became unused and overgrown because of a flooding issue, and so the decision was taken to take the plots of land out of the charging structure of the Allotments and to use then as a community wildlife garden. Groundworks NE were given the task of clearing the site, excavating a pond, planting some trees and erecting extensive decking around two sides of the pond. Sunderland Black & Minority Network (SBMEN) took on the management of the area for approx. 5 years. In January 2017 Transition Sunderland were offered the area to manage, work started in January under a verbal agreement with the planning department of the City Council which should be formalised shortly.
HNCG is located in the Eastern section of Corporation Road Allotments, bounded by Corporation Road to the West, the A1018 to the East and the relatively recent un-named road joining two roundabouts, (which is probably responsible for the flooding, as it was sited on land originally taken up by the allotments, splitting them in two).
The aims of the group are multi-faceted; using Permaculture ethics & principles we hope to show how community groups can grow food without using petrochemical based fertilisers, pesticides & herbicides; instil in our younger members a love of Nature, showing them how the web of life is connected and how by working with Nature all life on the planet can thrive. We also hope to provide opportunities for minority groups to take part in gardening sessions. Planting apple trees shows that we have an eye on food security looking at an uncertain future, when we may once again see thousands of orchards being developed across the country as they once were, helping to feed a growing global population with fewer resources.