Nurturing communities, people & nature

Our partnership with North Downs School aims to improve local people's physical, mental and social wellbeing by connecting them to gardening and nature. We are creating three gardens in one space: a sensory garden, a kitchen garden and wildlife garden. By providing our community with a natural environment at the heart of the village and nurturing nature we will nurture people too!

Creating a place shared by people & wildlife

We have a grant from Surrey Downs Better Care Fund to create a community garden in the centre of Brockham at North Downs Primary School. It will be a sensory place for quiet contemplation, a space for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs, and a green haven for wildlife.


Basic principles

The four aspects of making space for nature in our gardens are providing food, water and shelter, as well as keeping the wildlife and the environment safe from our activities.

By making space for nature in our own garden we have won gold winner awards from Surrey Wildlife Trust. We believe that gardens are an important outdoor room for people.

Our Brockham Community Garden project will share simple ideas for creating habitats, making features and planting wildflowers that will nurture wildlife so that nature will nurture people too!


Providing food for wildlife is more than just putting up bird feeders or food down for mammals. We will have an allotment area for growing fruit, vegetables and herbs too.

An important component of natural ecosystems are the smaller creatures, insects and invertebrates that pollinate flowers and vegetables and are food for other animals.


Life cannot exist without water and as gardeners we can provide freshwater using a variety of methods.

The most obvious is to build a wildlife pond (no fish) that when full of native plants will attract amphibians, dragonflies, pond skaters, water beetles and other aquatic life.

For safety reasons we cannot build a pond but just as important are bird baths and bucket ponds to provide drinking water for birds and small mammals that will visit garden.

People usually find the sound of falling or flowing water soothing so we will seek to include a water feature in our sensory garden. 


After attracting wildlife into our garden to feed and drink the next aim is to encourage animals to stay and breed. To achieve this we need to consider what shelter they require to feel safe and how we can provide homes for them.

We will offer instruction how to make habitats, homes and refuges for insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

In a community garden shelter is important for people too so we will provide cover from inclement weather, shade from sunlight and screens from noise or observation in sensory garden.


Our actions have outcomes and we can affect wildlife by what we either do or don't do in our gardens. For example 'weeds' are often the best providers of nectar so why kill or remove them?

We ask gardeners to change the timing and way they cut grass to allow wildflowers to blossom and to create refuges for wildlife. We encourage the cutting of hedges in late autumn so that you avoid disturbing nesting birds.

And we definitely discourage the use of chemical herbicide sprays...

We promote an organic approach to gardening.


A final aspect of our approach will be monitoring the outcomes of this community-based project, which aims to provide benefits for local people and wildlife.

Firstly we aim to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being people in our local community. We want to reduce social isolation of residents and provide volunteering opportunities so that people have engaged and socialised with others.

We will provide community learning activities so that you develop the skills needed to make space for nature and improve biodiversity of our Parish.

How can you help?

We are collecting flowering & fragrant shrubs, cottage garden-style flowers & herbs that local people are donating to the project. If you have some unwanted plants, bulbs or seeds that you wish to donate please contact:

Diane Mayall (Brockham Green) - [email protected]


Ruth Johnson (Strood Green) - [email protected]