There is an immense amount of goodwill and community spirit in Wanstead.

This can often be seen in a very public form, such as at the lighting up of the Christmas tree on George Green last Friday or the Wanstead Festival in September.

Maybe less obvious are those working away in quieter ways, almost behind the scenes.

Take the community gardeners, based at the Corner House, at the top of Grove Park (opposite the Co-op).

Marian Temple has been involved in the work for 15 years, with a number of other volunteers joining her along the way. The community gardeners maintain and develop the beds and shrubs around Wanstead and Snaresbrook Stations, along High Street and at the Corner House.

They prefer to plant perennials, rather than annual plants. These will then keep producing year after year.

The great work done by Marian and the other community gardeners costs very little in money terms, with many of the materials and plants they use being donated by the community. Community gardening is a great example of what can be done where there is the goodwill.

Wild Wanstead is a more recent group, devoted to increasing the biodiversity of the area. Its first big venture was the planting of tree pits in some 40 roads around Wanstead. Unfortunately, the hot summer stopped the seeds fully bursting forth but next spring some of the fruits of their labour should become apparent.

The group is also looking to develop wild areas in places like Christchurch and George Green, as well as Nutter Lane. Wild Wanstead encourages people to develop their own biodiverse initiatives at home and on the streets. The group is keen to encourage the development of front and back gardens. They would also like to see people stop concreting over their gardens, pointing out the danger this does to the wildlife terrain and the cumulative effect of such actions in increasing flood risk in the area.

The Wren Group has been going for a number of years. Its members boast a vast array of knowledge of the local history and ecology of the area. There are the guided bird walks as well as historical ventures – like the one recently featured in this column, about World War II artefacts turning up on Wanstead Flats.

The Wren Group also does a lot of voluntary work in Wanstead Park and on the Flats. Much of the splendour of the Bluebell Wood in Wanstead Park is due to the all year round work done by their members.

A recent addition to the volunteer community army have been the litter pickers. The last litter pick was on November 17, which saw eight people out on a Saturday morning picking up the detritus from around High Street and on the greens.

All of these ventures show the very vibrant community spirit that exists in Wanstead. We are hoping to enact the Environmental Charter in Wanstead, getting individuals, businesses, schools, civil society and the council all involved in making our area a more environmentally sustainable place.

Goodwill and community spirit will be key to getting these plans off the ground, so it is fantastic to see so much already going on that can be tapped into with this new venture.

For more information see: Community Gardeners:

Wild Wanstead:

Wren Group: