Balham and Tooting are vibrant places to live but we do sometimes struggle with littering, fly-tipping and a lack of green spaces. Jean Millar has lived in Balham for over 40 years and although she loves it, she began to find the litter and lack of greenery in the High Road a bit depressing. So she suggested starting a campaign to collect litter and plant greenery in the High Road and ‘Beautify Balham’ was born.
Jean’s efforts include organisation of litter picks and asking participants what green ideas they would like to see introduced. She has also contacted local churches and schools to garner support and encourage other sections of the community to become even more involved in ‘green’ projects.
“I felt Balham needed a face lift with plants, trees and flowers. Also a regular clean up session so that litter would be a thing of the past.”– Jean Millar
Jean is exploring the possibility for more trees and has also offered her ideas to improve Balham bridge and to ‘green’ the station wall. She is an example of how one person can kick-start changes that the whole community can benefit from.
We chat with Jean over a (socially distanced!) coffee to find out more…
WHY DID YOU START BEAUTIFY BALHAM? I have lived in Balham for many years, but only in retirement have I had the time to really look at the environment around me. Although I love living here, I saw a lot of concrete and grey buildings, also litter and fly tipping. I felt Balham needed a face lift with plants, trees and flowers. Also a regular clean up session so that litter would be a thing of the past.
WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR THIS YEAR? For more people to know about the campaign, to encourage more volunteers to join the monthly litter pick and to have a celebration in June, ‘Balham in Bloom‘, so that residents and businesses can take part in beautifying their own front gardens and premises as a community project. To encourage local businesses to take responsibility for their rubbish and sponsor Balham in Bloom.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BALHAM? The vibrance of the streets and diversity of people.
WILL YOU BE ENTERING BALHAM IN BLOOM? Yes, of course!