Features

A society that keeps on giving

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The popular South Woodford Farmers’ Market has been running since the summer and December’s Christmas event is set to be the best yet, says Louise Burgess of the South Woodford Society as she updates us on the group’s hopes and plans for the local area

Whether you’re looking for festive food, classic decorations, arts and crafts or that last-minute gift, you can find all you want for Christmas at the South Woodford Christmas market – and at all our other local businesses, of course!  

We are hoping to regale you with traditional seasonal tunes and jazz, mulled wine, jolly bangers from the Giggly Pig and scrumptious cakes, pies and cheeses. Come along from 10am to 3pm on 15 December and join in the festive fun. And do get in touch if you want to be involved with a stall on the day or run an activity at the event.

Other initiatives the South Woodford Society has been working on include the area’s regular litter picks, which have been running in conjunction with CleanupUK, the anti-littering charity and Redbridge Council. We are still also working on the plans for a community orchard outside the station, so please get in touch if you have experience or knowledge in any of the following areas: fruit orchards, market gardening, landscaping, cider making, arboriculture or urban regreening.

Along with the wider population, we too are becoming increasingly concerned with environmental issues. Plastic pollution is a major problem, so reducing your consumption of plastic bottles should be applauded. If just one in 10 Brits refilled their water bottles once a week, we’d have 340 million fewer plastic bottles a year in circulation.

With this in mind, members of the South Woodford Business Forum are planning to join the Refill initiative (refill.org.uk) and become ‘refill stations’, so you can save money, stay hydrated and prevent plastic pollution at source. Download the free Refill app or look out for the Refill droplet in shop and business windows.

Concerned about climate change? So are we, which is why we are planning a public consultation meeting to set up a dedicated environmental group.  Please get in touch if you are interested in being part of that.

Planning issues such as the site of Waltham Forest Fencing, HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) in the Church End triangle and the use of containers for emergency housing have all been raised over the last year, and we continue our dialogue with local councillors and Redbridge Council to ensure the concerns of local residents are being given due consideration. Work is on-going with the Neighbourhood Plan, which ‘sits’ below the Local Plan and should help us plan positively to support local development. If you want to help with this work, please contact us.

As part of Redbridge’s ‘Spruce up your neighbourhood’ campaign, we took part in the Big Bulb Planting Weekend in October, working alongside the South Woodford Community Gardeners and Sainsbury’s to prepare for a glorious display in the area’s flower beds next spring. Bulbs have also been planted in the proposed orchard plot on the corner of Primrose Road and Mulberry Way.

Another of our plans is to develop the area between Boots and M&S into ‘SoWo Square’, to be the heart of George Lane.  Sainsbury’s already has plans to improve seating and planting, and is supporting us to create a mural under the arches along its walkway. We’re working on getting the community notice boards to work better too.

There’s so much going on in South Woodford and we can all be part of it in some way. Please join the South Woodford Society (it’s free) to keep in touch and to let us know how you’d like to be involved. Your suggestions for how you would like to see the community grow are always welcome.

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Louise Burgess
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