The key RHS Chelsea flower show garden
Homelessness, positive change
At LONDON in United Kingdom
Local partners: Eden Project, Noah Enterprise Centre and Homelesslink
Donors: Homes and Communities Agency
ASF-UK created a symbolic pavilion centrepiece for a major show garden at 2009 RHS Chelsea Flower Show to help raise the issue of homelessness and positive change. The project highlighted the work of Places of Change, an £80m capital improvement funding programme managed by the Homes and Communities Agency which seeks to identify, encourage, engage and realise the potential of homeless people enabling them to move on with, and turn around, their lives.
The Key garden was the product of a unique and ambitious collaboration between the Homes and Communities Agency, Communities and Local Government, the Eden Project, Homeless Link and Architecture Sans Frontières-UK. Poets, artists, gardeners and craft workers around the country who have been or remain homeless all helped in creating a place of hope, aspiration and community within a garden whose main theme is homelessness, as part of ‘The Key’ show garden design at Chelsea.
The design was founded on sustainability, resourcefulness, and the creative adaptation of materials that were once discarded by society as waste. These materials were transformed by people who have themselves experienced social exclusion through homelessness and who are now being trained at St Edmunds Society in Norwich and Noah Enterprise Centre in Luton. The pavilion brief was to create a place of hope, aspiration, community and activity. At the same time it has been a tool which has encouraged and enabled as many people as possible to contribute to its creation.
The “Place of Change” pavilion was defined by reclaimed timber posts. Artworks are stencilled on the timbers expressing a personal life journey of offending, homelessness and redemption. The centre-piece of the pavilion was a large multipurpose meeting table which doubles as a planting bench, made from salvaged old doors and windows. Car windscreens were used to cover sitting shelters and the posts and timber were all reclaimed materials. The garden received formal recognition in the form of an RHS Silver Flora medal and third place in the People’s Choice Awards. The pavilion has been a springboard for those who participated in the process to achieving increased confidence and inspiration, new skills and networks, and employment opportunities.