Completion of Log Cabin Nature / Picnic Area



Two years ago Log Cabin (a Centre for children with special needs in Northfields West London) was rebuilt but during that time a plot previously used as a nature and picnic area by the children was used to store all the building materials and therefore out of bounds for the children. Although it had always been the Centre’s intention to restore this part of their garden, resources, financial and human were not available. When the local Rotary Club of Hanwell and Northfields heard about this and how many of the autistic children were no longer able to have the quietness they sought in this part of the garden (and watch the trains entering and leaving Northfields Underground Station which is next door to the Centre) the Rotarians decided to try to bring the nature and picnic area back into use.

On one very cold weekend in mid November 2013, 12 Rotarians helped by 5 members of the Rotaract Club of Ealing, began Phase 1 of our plan and worked really hard in very muddy conditions to clear the area of rubble, weeds, broken garden furniture etc and reposition about 60 full sized logs also stored there.

We applied for and received some redwood saplings from the Woodland Trust and fund raised to purchase additional saplings to make a hedge around the perimeter of the nature area. We planted spring bulbs in the area and in tubs although the local squirrels subsequently ate all the bulbs bar three in the tubs!

In January 2014 the centre decided the logs stored in the nature area could be used to make a border to the path to their garage on another part of their premises. So Phase 2 began and Rotarian and Rotaract lumberjacks returned to move over 60 logs and managed to devise a way to do this by 'sliding' the logs down a steep incline to the garage area and then repositioned the logs. A really tough job but done with good humour and many sore hands and backs! A few smaller logs remained in the area for use in the Centre's fire pit although the wet winter and spring meant none were used.

Towards the end of May 2014, a smaller team returned to complete the project but found the area more overgrown by weeds from waste land nearby than expected! Once located, the hedge was found to be growing well and the spring bulbs in the ground had obviously flowered! However everywhere needed attention and the logs for the fire pit were still stored in the area. The team set to work and after a couple of days of weeding, gardening, relocating the smaller logs and generally tidying up, we had almost restored the area. During the previous few weeks we had fund raised again to buy two sturdy picnic tables with benches and one of our members assembled these for us. So in early June 2014 we completed the task we set ourselves last November and to the delight of the managers at Log Cabin, the nature and picnic area is now useable again and a group of children has already had a picnic there much to their delight.

The pictures above tell the story of our 6 month project and the visit by a few of our members on 3rd July to share a strawberries and cream picnic and hand over our final cheque for use in the area. In addition to restoring the nature and picnic area, we have raised £630 for Log Cabin which has funded the redwood hedge and new robust garden furniture. It is great to see the area looking so lovely once more.

Janet Bettaccini Chair Community Committee RC Hanwell and Northfields