HCRA and mosque volunteers start work to repair damaged garden

A team of volunteers from HCRA and Harrow Central Mosque have started work to repair the much-loved community garden after it was vandalised last year.

Scores of helpers including many members of the mosque’s youth group turned out to help with weeding, watering and spreading tons of compost and mulch.

The garden at the corner of Rosslyn Crescent and Station Road was vandalised in December last year.

Since then HCRA has successfully applied for a £600 grant for Harrow to help pay for new plants and other improvements.

Harrow Central Mosque has also donated £100 to the garden restoration fund.

However, at least £500 is still needed to help restore the garden to its former glory and HCRA members are currently seeking funding.

The event on Saturday, February 22, was the first phase of a major project to bring the garden back to life.

Volunteers also helped weed and plant up the flowerbed at the mosque at the same time.

HCRA’s gardening group will be organising similar events in the near future to repaint the garden beds, plant bulbs and new plants and install new signage.

Appeal for volunteers to help revitalise community garden

HCRA is seeking volunteers to help shift tons of compost as part of efforts to rejuvenate its much-loved community garden.

The association’s gardening group organising a working party to help shift soil this Saturday – Saturday February 22 – from 10am to 3pm.

The association is joining forces with Harrow Central Mosque’s youth group who will be helping out on the day.

But more people are needed to shift several tons of compost and mulch to the raised garden beds and mosque flowerbed.

Everyone is welcome to take part. Volunteers can help by bringing their own spade or shovels and wheelbarrows.

If you are interested in helping out then you can just turn up on the day or you can email jo@jostephenson.com for more information.

The work is part of wider efforts to restore the garden after it was brutally vandalised in December last year.

HCRA lands £600 council grant to restore community garden

HRCA volunteers say they are “delighted” after securing a £600 grant from Harrow Council to restore a community garden that had been vandalised.

Members of the association’s gardening group applied for funding from the Harrow Council Community Fund after the garden outside the Stop and Shop store was chopped to the ground.

They learned this week their application had been successful with £600 given to HCRA to pay for new plants and other improvements.

The community garden on the corner of Station Road and Rosslyn Crescent was created by HCRA volunteers in 2015, transforming a derelict patch of wasteland.

However, the much-loved feature has been vandalised twice in the past two years, most recently in December 2019 when many plants were uprooted or cut down.

Those who look after the garden estimate it will cost £1,000 in total to restore it to its former glory, including repainting the wooden beds and installing new signage.

Harrow Central Mosque has already given HCRA £100 towards repairing the garden and HCRA will be launching a fundraising campaign to raise the rest of the money needed.

Gardening group co-ordinator Jo Stephenson said the council grant was a huge boost for everyone who has worked so hard on the garden over the years.

“We were devastated when the garden was vandalised so this is a massive morale boost for the volunteers who regularly come out in rain and shine to care for the garden,” she said.

“We are absolutely delighted and incredibly grateful to get this grant from the council, which will mean we can bring the garden back to life.”

The gardening group will now set about putting its replanting plan into action with work on the garden due to start in coming weeks.

New trees planted in Frognal and Rosslyn

Three new trees have been planted in Rosslyn Crescent and Frognal Avenue thanks to HCRA’s ongoing tree campaign.

Over the past decade or so HCRA volunteers have lobbied and fundraised to get more trees planted in our three roads.

Overall more than 40 new trees have been planted – many paid for by the association, individual residents and from community funding made available to local councillors.

The latest trees – two in Rosslyn and one in Frognal – were installed by Harrow Council following ongoing discussion with HCRA.

HCRA tree officer Helen Grimes said she was delighted to see more new trees go in.

“We think trees really make a difference to the look and feel of our streets,” she said.

“Residents can help look after our new trees by taking care when parking near them, reporting damage or broken branches to HCRA and by watering trees in hot weather.”



Mosque pledges £100 to help replant community garden

Harrow Central Mosque has pledged £100 to help replant HCRA’s community garden after it was chopped to the ground.

The mosque is just one of many local organisations and individuals to express their support for the garden on the corner of Rosslyn Crescent and Station Road after it was vandalised again last week.

HCRA volunteers have attempted to replant and tidy what is left of the garden and are now seeking funding for new plants.

They estimate at least £600 worth of damage was caused when plants were hacked down and uprooted.

The committee that runs Harrow Central Mosque said it would give £100 to help restore the garden.

Representatives from Harrow Council have also said they may be able to help with some money from a budget set aside for community projects.

The garden is outside the Stop and Shop convenience store and HCRA has been working with the shop management on a replanting plan.

Shop managers have also promised to give some money towards new plants.

“We were devastated when we found out the garden had been destroyed again but are really encouraged by the support we have had from the local community,” said Jo Stephenson from HCRA’s gardening group.

“We’re delighted that the mosque has pledged £100, which is really kind and generous and we’re hopeful that the council and others will get behind our efforts to restore the garden to its former glory.”

If you can help with a donation towards new plants then please email chair@hcra.org.uk


Volunteers devastated as community garden destroyed for second time

Local police are investigating after the community garden created by HCRA was destroyed for a second time.

The garden outside the convenience store at the corner of Rosslyn Crescent and Station Road was built in 2015 after neighbours raised nearly £4,000 to transform a patch of wasteland.

The garden was funded by donations from many local people and organisations including Harrow Council, Harrow Central Mosque and Harrow in LEAF.

When HCRA members, who have continued to maintain the garden, visited the site yesterday they were shocked to discover most of the plants had been chopped to the ground.

This is the second time the garden has been vandalised. In April 2018 many of the plants were hacked to the ground by the shop owner at the time.

The shop – now called Stop and Shop – has since changed hands and HCRA volunteers have been working with the new management on plans to improve the garden and refresh the planting.

However, these plans are now on hold while shocked residents try to work out how best to salvage what is left of the garden.

The incident has been reported to the Metropolitan Police who are taking it seriously and have said they plan to review CCTV footage in a bid to identify the culprits.

Jo Stephenson, who chairs the HCRA gardening group, said she was devastated when she saw the state of the garden.

“So many people have worked for so many hours on this garden so it is incredibly upsetting to see it in such a mess,” she said.

“Many of the plants have been totally destroyed or dug up. I just don’t understand why someone would do this. We will do our best to renew and replant the garden but we’re talking £100s of pounds of damage. We are a small voluntary organisation and just don’t have that kind of money.”

Callous thieves steal plants from community garden

Spot the difference. These photos show a flower bed at HCRA’s community garden before and after thieves struck this week.

Volunteers who planted the flowers were shocked to find the blooms had been uprooted and stolen just days after they had been put in.

The plants had been paid for by two residents and donated to the garden project.

“This was a despicable thing to do and is a kick in the teeth for our volunteers who work so hard to try and make our neighbourhood a nicer place to live,” said HCRA chair Brett Lake-Benson.

The community garden outside the convenience store at the top of Rosslyn Crescent was built by HCRA with support from many local organisations and businesses.

It is maintained by a team of local people who expressed their sadness at the theft.

“We don’t really have a budget for maintaining the garden so these flowers were donated by two residents to fill an empty bed,” said Jo Stephenson, who lives in Rosslyn Crescent and regularly tends the garden.

“It is heart-breaking and dispiriting when things like this happen because it makes people think twice about getting involved in community projects. It makes you wonder why you bother.

“However, we won’t let this setback stop us from trying to brighten up the local area.”

Share your views on local issues at our annual meeting

Residents can find out more about the work of HCRA and share local issues and concerns at our annual general meeting on Wednesday, June 5.

The meeting will take place from 7.30pm to 8.30pm at 19 Woodlands Road. Everyone is welcome to attend.

The meeting will include reports on HCRA activity in the past year and a short neighbours’ forum to discuss issues affecting our three streets – Rosslyn Crescent, Frognal Avenue and Woodlands Road.

We will also decide on our key goals for the forthcoming year and collection subscriptions.

If you can’t attend the meeting in person you can pay your annual subscription of £3 per household via Paypal using the link at the top of this website.

The annual general meeting will be followed by our normal monthly residents’ meeting where issues are discussed in more detail.

For more information please email chair@hcra.org.uk


Harrow & Wealdstone Station gets a revamp

Work has begun to spruce up Harrow and Wealdstone Station, which was badly in need of repairs.

The £3.7 million revamp will include replacing and repainting windows and work to refurbish the bridge and lifts.

Work has already started with one half of the bridge currently boarded up and out of use.

The works are expected to continue until December this year. Managers have said the lifts will remain in use throughout.

Greenhill ward councillor Keith Ferry has been pushing for the upgrade for many years.

“I look forward to seeing a station we can be proud of once again – shiny, pristine and sparkling,” he told the council’s Harrow People magazine.

Volunteers take junk to the dump

A team of local volunteers cleared away tonnes of junk as part of HCRA’s annual clean-up.

The popular “Dump Run” event on May 12 saw neighbours collect unwanted furniture and other rubbish and ferry it to the dump.

The event is supported by Harrow Council and those who came to lend a hand included Greenhill ward councillor Sue Anderson (pictured above).

As always there was plenty of junk to cart away including many items left by callous fly-tippers.

During the event the team cleared huge amounts of dumped rubbish from the passageway that runs between Rosslyn Crescent and Frognal Avenue including mattresses, a rusty barbecue and other household waste.

The event is free but HCRA does collect donations to help pay for the hire of the van and other expenses.

Once again volunteers were treated to a delicious lunch made by a resident from Rosslyn Crescent.

HCRA chair Brett Lake-Benson thanked everyone who took part and supported the event.

“One of HCRA’s main goals is to make our neighbourhood a nicer place to live. It is depressing when fly-tippers dump rubbish in our streets and alleyways but we are determined not to lot them win,” he said.

“Events like our annual Dump Run show what communities can achieve when they work together.”

At other times of the year Harrow Council will collect bulky items for a fee.

Meanwhile HCRA encourages all residents in Rosslyn Crescent, Frognal Avenue and Woodlands Road to download and use Harrow Council’s “Your Place, Your Space” app, which can be used to report fly-tipping quickly and easily.