Wednesday, 23 November 2011


Week two after the Great Fire of Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and the base of the temporary shed is almost ready thanks to hardcore volunteers, school pupils and help last Sunday from Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue .
Thank God or climate change or just sheer luck but the weathers been so mild we're still picking salad and raspberries and working in t-shirts, so we wouldn't have had to hide in our shed yet from the rain, cold and snow. But let's make sure it's up in time for our Christmas Party.
Apart from one or two items, we have now had all our cooking equipment replaced by donations. A load of timber donated (but would still like more) and Father Martin from St. Margarets church in Rottingdean has said they will donate all their Christmas collections so we can buy metal roofing for the temporary shed.
I can't say it enough, but we have been bowled over by the communities support. Thank you.
You will all get an invite to our Christmas Party!

Thursday, 17 November 2011


The clear up is over and people have started work on our temporary structure. We need to put something up quick to have somewhere dry and warm before the weather turns cold. Unfortunately our half built rammed chalk food larder (see top picture) has had to be buried alive while people pick axed and flattened a large area of chalk next to the old shed. We laid down scaff board for supporting walls while we try to even up the ground.

The support we have been receiving has truly been phenomenal. Unable to sustain such back-breaking work without coffee we’ve had to borrow two cafeterias but apart from that we have nearly replaced all the kitchen equipment and have been receiving and chasing up offers of wood. Financial donations and plans for benefit gigs and roast dinners also continue to roll in

The best way you can help us financially is to take out a standing order. We will soon launching the ‘Friends of the Forest Garden’ for those that do just that. Being a ‘Friend’ will entitle you to a yearly special event for your family, VIP treatment at events (probably an extra bit of cheese topping on your outdoor oven baked pizza) and regular mailings of blog updates, reports and other news of interest.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


On a drizzly November day we set about clearing up what was left of our shed. Burnt timber, twisted metal roofing, melted plastic, cracked cups…it had to be sorted to be burnt, recycled, sold to the scrappy and taken to the tip. But what a response! All the pupils and teachers from Springboard , pupils and staff from ACE, regular and new volunteers, pupils from the past, all got stuck in to make light of the work.

Daisy dished up pumpkin soup and the Bridge Community Centre kindly brought up sandwiches and crisps for everyone. We had deliveries of cooking equipment from some BHOGGers and Coachwerks

In the afternoon we sat round the fire and planned a temporary structure to go up as soon as, while the council came and promised a proper fence.

Massive thanks to everyone who helped, has sent us messages of support, cash and equipment.

You always hope that you are making a difference and people care about what you do. The last few days have shown that people really do.

Before long a bigger, better ‘shed’ will rise from the ashes.



To quickly put up a temporary structure we need

Galvanized roof sheeting. We need between 2-3 metre lengths of galvanised metal sheet roofing that when overlapped will span a 6 metres in length and appropriate ridge sections. 200 appropriate fixings approx

Treated timber We need 6x4.2 metre lengths of 4by4inches

10x3 metre lengths of 4by4inches

6x3 metre lengths of 4by2inches

Clay. To help build a new wood burning stove.

We also still need catering sized pans and saucepans (with lids if possible), cafeteria, kettle for the fire, storage tins for biscuits, tea, coffee and sugar, metal potato mashers and ladles.

Sunday, 6 November 2011


Thanks to all the messages of support; moral, financial and physical.

Here’s a list of some of the things that we need replacing.

Plates, knifes, forks, spoons, bowls, mugs, big pans, frying pans, cast iron pans, tins for storing tea, coffee, sugar and biscuits, cafeteria, teapot, baking trays, serving spoons and ladle, cheese grater, colander, measuring jugs, potato masher.

Kettle for fire, wood burning stove, mirror.

Friday, 4 November 2011


On Thursday night our allotment shed was burnt to the ground. The fire was so fierce that neighbours called the fire brigade who had to stumble through woodland to put out the blaze and stop our Saxon roundhouse from also catching fire.

You might get the wrong impression, when you think of a garden shed storing a few tools and a couple of old flowerpots.

This was a lot more than a shed, it was what some youngsters called our tree shed. An outdoor classroom built over a 5 years with pupils on work experience, helping them gain valuable knowledge of carpentry and construction. With its wood burning stove it was a warm, dry space for volunteers to escape the rain. A place for pupils to carry on work such as carving and woodwork out of the cold. It was used for courses, talks and slideshows at our events. It was also where we stored all our food and cooking equipment used for making lunch for everyone on workdays and cups of tea throughout the day.

It was small things that you can’t put a price on that have been lost, like the two benches being built by pupils as Christmas presents for their mums.

So what now?

Before we even start to think about building another shed, we face the mammoth task of clearing up the site, rebuilding the fences, taking out some of the large damaged trees and replacing the tree nursery.

But we don’t know with what money and resources we have spare to build a new one. We are insured, but however much we get, it’s not going to be able to replace our project’s centre-piece anytime soon. We are only a small charity with one member of staff that relies on small grants, income from schools and a lot of goodwill from volunteers and supporters to survive. So we will have to look at budgets, beg, borrow and coppice from the woods and make plans for a new shed.

In the meantime we will have to quickly build a warm, dry structure to see us through the winter and dig into funds to buy new kettle, pans, plates….the list goes on.

So if you’ve got something lying around that you think we might need please get in touch or turn up this Tuesday 8th November and help with the clean up. Or think about making a small monthly standing order to support us.