New Southgate Millennium Green Trust founder Andrew Irvine on how residents are helping the space to thrive
In the south-west corner of Enfield borough is a gem of local initiative and community.
New Southgate Millennium Green is a small open space owned and entirely run by its own charity. Started (obviously?) at the turn of the millennium, it has been striding forward with a growing collection of interesting trees, community art projects and music events.
A determined team of volunteers is working towards creating an arboretum worth the name, and we never stop looking for new ways to connect with the community.
At the New Southgate Millennium Green Trust we are very grateful for the assistance of Enfield Council, most notably a decade of strong support each from local councillors Vivien Giladi and then Daniel Anderson, and which now continues through current New Southgate councillor Josh Abey. However, all the team are clear that the buck stops with the volunteer trustees, and we strive to run the green as independently as possible.
The trust has always had a policy of working for the future, not just the present – all our volunteers automatically get trained towards certificates – and the team has trained first-aiders, qualified gardeners and written proper health and safety policies, ensuring that newcomers feel they have a purpose, a goal, and belong to something substantial.
For over a decade now, we have been supported by our business neighbour, construction firm Mulalley, which is building a large site of flats and houses next door and which has sponsored the green’s events, hi-vis vests and insurance with plans for more.
As founder of the trust, I remain heavily involved and still walk around New Southgate Millennium Green every day. But we also have some younger trustees, such as Aurther Honour, who is taking control of the trust.
Explaining his vision, Aurther explains: “As we own the land forever, it is no good muddling through in a volunteer’s front room. We have pushed for an office space, a quality set of equipment, and established routines.
“We offer all our volunteers a meaningful reference once they have completed our certificate, a wide selection of worthwhile jobs to do, and a great place to do it.
“Our green is a remarkably tranquil, pretty space, ‘hidden in plain sight’ and surrounded by urban traffic. We get lots of compliments from the public and the team is growing in numbers, with the members feeling more confident to take on roles, knowing they will be supported by experienced colleagues.”
Right now, the trust is working on cutting the huge 300-metre hedge, treating all the timber and installing a ‘little free library’ in the new year. We have also been given a free petrol mower that doesn’t work! So if you can help with any of these big projects, please get in touch.
You can meet our voluntary team at one of our sessions or one of our evening barbecues/bonfires on the first Saturday of every month. And remember, the green is open 24/7!
Get involved with New Southgate Millennium Green Trust:
Call 07786 303 440
Email [email protected]