Last year, The Commercial Escape were delighted to be appointed by the Rosendale Allotment Association to build a long awaited community building, following their very much deserved National Lottery grant award.
Tucked away behind the houses of Dulwich since 1908, the 18 acre site is one of the largest in London with some 480 plots and a waiting list that currently exceeds 500. Plot holders comprise a diverse group of South Londoners, from every walk of life, who share a common passion for producing their own food. They grow a huge array of fruits, vegetables, flowers and produce from traditional root vegetables and salad stuff, through to fruit trees and soft fruits. Some grow grapes to make their own wine, others have bee hives to produce honey and one plot holder even grows their own wheat and bakes bread in a bread oven on their plot!
One of the core aims of the Lottery funding was to replace the communal buildings on the site which comprised a dilapidated old hut and a compost toilet. The association committee wanted to build a meeting centre not only as a social hub for members (and a comfortable place to spend a penny!) but also for use by the wider community.
Their community building is home to their resource centre and library, a compact but fully equipped kitchen, a large decked area and the long awaited loo, and is used for a wide variety of purposes. The association use it to run workshops and educational programmes on food growing in small urban spaces and environmental issues, as well as making it available to wider members of the community interested in hosting events linked to health, education, horticulture and the environment.
This summer, members have made wholehearted use of the building to host some fantastic children’s parties and someone even hired it as a venue for their wedding reception. As food production reached its peak, a group of enterprising plot holders used their allotment produce to run a café at weekends, providing hungry fellow gardeners with delicious lunches and cakes, not to mention a much appreciated cuppa.
For a better feel of what we might be able to do for your organisation, we invite you to visit the Commercial Escape website, but thought the RAA wouldn’t mind us sharing with you some of the reasons why they chose us to create this beautiful but highly functional space for them.
“Initially we were attracted by the beautiful design and the reasonable price of The Commercial Escape’s eco-buildings. Once we made the first enquiry, we were impressed with the approach of the firm’s staff and the level of personal interest shown in our project. They took on board all of our requirements and designed us a building which satisfies them all.”