MHA Communities South London – Kitchen Garden Project

At the beginning of May, MHA Communities South London volunteers got together to create a kitchen garden.

They started with nothing but some compost and a pack of seeds. Since then, they worked very hard to support MHA Communities South London’s aim at
becoming more sustainable and to provide a space for the community to engage with nature whilst getting involved in gardening activities.

As of today, we are growing different varieties of vegetable and herbs: squash, southern kale, trail of tears beans, spring onion, chard and more but also fennel, parsley, coriander and more.

The development of the kitchen garden led to the creation of the Gardening for Wellbeing club where we help people living with Dementia, health and mental health conditions, and stroke survivors to access the benefit of gardening. What we grow gets used to prepare a healthy lunch for our members.

We would like to expand our kitchen garden and grow more vegetables to provide a weekly affordable lunch to elderly people living in the community.

Can you help us to help our local community?

We are looking for wood, containers, a glass house, polytunnel, anything that can help us develop our kitchen garden, and generate more activities for those in need and provide support to our local community.

Contact us at: MHA Communities South London at the Wilderness, 17 Shirley Church Road, Croydon CR9 5AL
Phone: 07597135220 – Email:

Heatwave Warning – Monday 18 July and Tuesday 19 July

The Met Office has issued a red warning of extreme heat for Monday and Tuesday – the highest level – which covers an area including London, Manchester and York.

People have been asked to look out for vulnerable relatives and neighbours who may be suffering in the heat.

Met Office and Department of Health Advice:

  • Stay out of the sun.
  • Keep your home cool.
  • Think about adjusting your plans for the warning period.
  • If you do have to go out, wear a hat and sunscreen, keep in the shade as much as possible and carry water.
  • Don’t leave people or animals in hot cars and keep a particular lookout for your family and neighbours, especially vulnerable people.

Be on the Alert for signs of Dehydration and Heat Exhaustion

The signs of heat exhaustion include:

  • a headache
  • dizziness and confusion
  • loss of appetite and feeling sick
  • excessive sweating and pale, clammy skin
  • cramps in the arms, legs and stomach
  • fast breathing or pulse
  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • being very thirsty

The symptoms are often the same in adults and children, although children may become floppy and sleepy.

If someone is showing signs of heat exhaustion, they need to be cooled down.

If someone has heat exhaustion, follow these 4 steps:

  1. Move them to a cool place.
  2. Get them to lie down and raise their feet slightly.
  3. Get them to drink plenty of water. Sports or rehydration drinks are OK.
  4. Cool their skin – spray or sponge them with cool water and fan them. Cold packs around the armpits or neck are good, too.

Stay with them until they’re better.

They should start to cool down and feel better within 30 minutes.

How you can reduce the risk of dehydration

  • Drink fluids when you feel any dehydration symptoms.
  • If you find it hard to drink because you feel sick or have been sick, start with small sips and then gradually drink more.
  • You can use a spoon to make it easier for your child to swallow the fluids.
  • You should drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale clear colour.
  • Drink when there’s a higher risk of dehydrating. For example, if you’re vomiting, sweating or you have diarrhoea.

To help prevent heat exhaustion or heatstroke:

  • drink plenty of cold drinks, especially when exercising
  • take cool baths or showers
  • wear light-coloured, loose clothing
  • sprinkle water over skin or clothes
  • avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm
  • avoid excess alcohol
  • avoid extreme exercise

This will also prevent dehydration and help your body keep itself cool.

Keep an eye on children, the elderly and people with long-term health conditions (like diabetes or heart problems) because they’re more at risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Gardening for Wellbeing with Lynette

We are extremely excited to let you know that our Volunteer Lynette will be soon starting her Gardening for Wellbeing club at the Wilderness. Don’t miss this opportunity to join a relaxed and inclusive environment, surrounded by the beauty and tranquillity of the Wilderness garden.

We only have 6 places available. Be the first one to sign up.

The 5 weeks programme of Gardening for Wellbeing is aimed at anyone age 55+ living in the community.

The programme focuses on the benefits of growing your own plants: vegetables, herbs and house plants. At the end of the programme, you will:

  • learn the ethos and approaches to re-growing food
  • learn how to regrow food from scraps and how to care and manage your plants
  • learn how to propagate house plants
  • contribute to our kitchen garden
  • attend an art & craft with nature workshop

Activities suitable to all. The Wilderness is a wheel-chair friendly garden with accessible toilets on-site.

For more information, contact

MHA The Wilderness Garden Events for May

Rhododendron in Bloom and Exhibition Event
The Wilderness garden will open on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd May from 10am to 4pm to members of the public to admire the beautiful display of Rhododendrons, Azalea and spring plants now in flower.

We will also host a photographic exhibition at the Wilderness Centre to discover how the Wilderness has changed through times. No need for booking – just turn up!

The Wilderness garden public openings
From Saturday 7th May until Sunday 25th September, the Wilderness garden will be open to the public on weekend from 10am to 4pm. No need for booking. Just turn up and enjoy the tranquillity of the garden!