Charles and Camilla visit East End estate where families grow their own food

Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall have visited a housing estate in London’s deprived East End today where tenants grow their own food and have helped rid their neighbourhood of anti-social behaviour.

They called in at Bethnal Green’s Hollybush Estate to meet volunteers and families taking part in community Christmas events.

The tour began amid the winter chill in the estate’s ‘Rocky’ Gardens communal plots and its ‘Strawberry Fields’ orchard where families tend their organic crops, then continued in Kedleston Walk community centre to meet volunteers packing Christmas hampers for pensioners and vulnerable tenants.

The project to ‘look after one another’ has transformed the neighbourhood and helped quell anti-social behaviour, Charles and Camilla were told.

The Royal couple were shown round by Teesdale & Hollybush tenants association’s leader Margaret Cox, a ‘Big Lunch Champion’ and a full-time volunteer working with neighbourhood groups, voluntary organisations and schools.

The estate now has a nature reserve and 79 growing spaces, thanks to Margaret’s work, where families grow fruit and vegetables for the Big Lunch street parties held every June since 2009.

Margaret also introduced Charles and Camilla to volunteers busy packing Christmas hampers for pensioners on the estate.

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The hampers include fresh vegetables from the allotments, jam made from fruit from the orchard and other festive goodies paid for with donations Margaret gets from businesses in the neighbourhood.