Community Garden Privy matters

Bohemia Walled Garden in St Leonards with their A$A-funded WooHoo compost toilet, the type to be installed at Love Lane.

Ever since the Community Garden’s inception in August 2014, installing some form of toilet facility on the site has been one of the goals. Our initial enquiries for grant-funding were rebuffed with the rather bald statement that toilet facilities were available ‘close by’  – meaning those opposite Rye Station. Anyone who has made that trek from the Community Garden, without the pressure building, will know that it is a good 10-minute walk – what are the chances?

Undeterred by such lack of vision, the Steering Committee took the view that, in a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, the Garden needed to develop to its full potential before tackling the issue again – maybe, with documented usage, the need would be more apparent.

Roll on three years: the Garden is now in regular use by groups such as Rye Brownies (youngsters) and AgeUK (golden oldies) and generating vegetables and fruit throughout the year with any surpluses donated to the Rye Food Bank.

With the support of the RACIC and the Love Lane Allotmenteers, and with advice from the Marina Allotments & Horticultural Association in St Leonards, the Steering Committee made an application to the Awards 4 All scheme (part of the Big Lottery Fund) for an all-singing/all-dancing self-sustaining Compost Toilet (see photo above). Last month, we heard that we had indeed been successful and, with the money in the bank, the Steering Committee is now focused on getting the toilet in by mid-year.

The component parts are due to be delivered in early May with installation pencilled in for the week-end of May 18 -19.

Thus, we have four months in which to do all the site preparation work: clearing the ground of all debris and invasive planting; marking out the actual site and levelling it; digging out the necessary soil pit and marking out all the access pathways, although these can’t be laid until after the installation in case the all-weather surface gets damaged.

As ever, more hands make light work so there will be a call for volunteer assistance for specific jobs.

Our Facebook page will be updated and anyone interested in helping out can log their interest there or send an e-mail to

In the meantime, a special thanks has to go to SLM Toyota who, in May of 2018, awarded us funding to assist in the laying of better access pathways. As these things go, in early December we also received the A4A funding so the Steering Committee has alerted Toyota that there would be a delay in spending their money. I think they are OK with this!

We know that having such a ‘comfort facility’ will make the Garden even more appealing to young and old alike but, looking back, it seems to have taken an inordinate amount of time to get to this point. The making of the film ‘Gandhi’ comes to mind: it look Richard Attenborough 20 years to achieve his dream of making that iconic film but when he did, it swept the board at the Oscars.

Seemingly, everything has its rightful time and 2019 seems to be ‘that year’ in the life of the Community Garden – long may it be fruitful and appreciated by those who use it and/or simply come to enjoy the peace and serenity of Rye’s own Garden.

Image Credits: Rye Community Garden.


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