What we’re about
On March 1st 2010 Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third runway at Heathrow.
30 tonnes of rubbish were cleared and over two years later the site has been transformed from a derelict mess into a beacon of community strength and a great example of how to live sustainably on this planet.
The land had previously been problematic for the local community and was often a site of anti-social behaviour before it was virtually abandoned. Traditional Transition Towns often have a strong emphasis on growing your own food, so we decided to incorporate that with a squatted community space where people could come together, and spend time as a community.
The project aims to return the Berkeley Nurseries site back to its previous purpose – a thriving market garden that will provide our community with locally produced, organic fruit and veg as well as a venue for new and interesting projects and workshops.
The site is a hub for local residents and environmental activists to share knowledge and practical skills such as organic gardening, permaculture design, bicycle maintenance and wood and metal work. Over the past three years the site has played host to a wide range of political gatherings for groups such as: UK Uncut, Climate Camp, Reclaim the Fields, The Transition Network, People&Planet, No Tar Sands Network, The Kick Nuclear Campaign, PEDAL, Palestine Place, Cuts Cafe and many more.
We are also now well on our way to a position of self-reliance. We produce our own food, use solar and wind power meaning we’re completely off grid, we collect water from the greenhouse roofs to feed the plants, fruit and vegetables, we use fuel-efficient rocket stoves to heat water and are equipped with wonderful compost toilets making humanure.
Our address is Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH. Check out out our travel tips to get to us.
Get involved in 2017
Grow Heathrow is a community space, open every day, 10am – 6pm (Sundays 2-6pm) and you can visit, learn new skills and help make positive things happen.
If you’re planning to arrive outside these hours and/or would like to stay, let us know first. Ring us on 020 8897 0368, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or facebook us @Transition Heathrow.
What are the best days to come? If your coming to Grow Heathrow for the first time, Thursdays and Tuesdays are the best days to come as there will definitely be someone to host you and find your way.
(There will probably be someone to host you the rest of the week, but we just can’t promise it – The site is all about being pro-active so if your not free on these days, come on any other day, have a look around you at what you think needs doing and get stuck in!)
If you are interested in coming for a particular activity / event, see the events page for what’s on when.
Our address is Grow Heathrow, Vineries Close, Sipson, West Drayton, UB7 0JH. Check out our travel tips on how to get to us.
Want to get involved? (we are currently closed to volunteers staying overnight)
Grow Heathrow are looking for reliable, creative people that align themselves with the aims of the project. All you growers, foragers, community organisers, bike mechanics and more, get in touch if you’re interested.
Grow Heathrow is a community project as well as our home, so give us notice before you come and stay. Please send us an email or phone in beforehand. If you could write simply what you’re interested in, what your experience is, where you heard about us, and why you want to be involved with Grow Heathrow.
Anyone can stay for up to one week. If, after one week, volunteers want to stay longer, they can ask to do so at our weekly site meetings on Wednesday evening.
After a month, visitors can request to become a ‘long-term volunteer’ from 1 to 3 months. This must be with the understanding that you are expected to hold a higher level of responsibility for the project and for the wellbeing of the collective.
After one month at Grow Heathrow, following a request to be a long term volunteer, visitors are asked leave Grow Heathrow for 10 days to give both the community and the visitor a chance to reflect on their presence in the community.
The ‘long-term volunteer’ status is reviewed within 3 months on a date specified by the collective and the volunteer.
Our volunteer guidelines are a way of ensuring that everyone gets the most out of spending time onsite. There are some situations in which these guidelines may not be appropriate, and we encourage you to email us or come along for a chat to see how we can accommodate everyone’s needs.
Phone: 020 8897 0368
Facebook: @Transition Heathrow
Volunteer and Resident Group Agreements
Agree with the wider aims of the Transition Heathrow project such as resisting airport expansion, lowering carbon emissions and improving community resilience in the Heathrow villages.
We have four main Aims:
o To further the Heathrow villages as an iconic symbol of community resistance to the economic, ecological and democratic crises.
o To develop and promote community and resource autonomy to support long-term community resilience
o To establish replicable structures of organisation, which could provide a model for future non-hierarchical, consensus-based communities.
o To root the grassroots radical values of the 3rd runway resistance in the Heathrow villages for the long term
· Abide by all collective decisions taken during the weekly site meetings.
· Staying on site two days and two nights per week if possible, and/or commit to ensuring there are always two people on-site accepting that it might not always be convenient.
· Positively interact with the wider community.
· Welcoming and helping visitors, and encouraging more people to visit the site.
· Help out in at least one working group.
· Contribute up to £25 a month for essential site costs (or contributing to food non-monetarily).
· Answer the site phone and passing on messages.
· Keeping all communal spaces presentable by tidying up any mess, especially before going to bed.
· Generally supporting others in what work they’re doing on site, including being aware of other people’s workloads, helping avoid burnout in others, and attending events/projects that are organised by others.
· Skill-share wherever possible.
· Be self-aware: consider taking yourself away from the site to avoid stress for yourself and the collective if you find this space a difficult place to live or cannot find agreement with these stated shared principles.
· The only people who should have keys are residents. Anyone else who wants a key is allowed to at the discretion of the group at a Wednesday meeting.
· Challenge gender stereotypes through behaviour, language and attitude – not to occupy negative gender stereotypes or enforce them on others..
· Grow Heathrow is a non-hierarchical space. However, power relations will inevitably emerge. We should all do our best to be mindful of them and proactive in challenging them. Treat everyone as you would want to be treated.
· Attend weekly site meetings and resistance Thursday, and give notice (or explanation) if you are unable to attend.
· Not consuming drugs or alcohol in the daytime.
- Larger society is infused with rape culture. Grow Heathrow residents take a strong stance against rape culture and agree to call individuals out when rape language is used, and support each other in challenging this.
Conflict Resolution Process
Being involved with Grow Heathrow should require a commitment to resolving one’s personal conflicts. Consider approaching a member of the wellbeing working group or any other resident you feel comfortable with, if you feel you have a conflict with another individual on site and would like some advice or support.
Direct resolution: Try and resolve the conflicts directly between those parties involved.
Mediated resolution: If this fails or if either party refuse to take part in resolving the conflict then the next step is to find a neutral mediator either internal or external to Grow Heathrow. A request to go to a neutral mediator must be answered within two weeks.
Well-being Group resolution: Move to the well-being group who will try and resolve it. This may involve further mediation as well other methods.
Site meeting resolution: If after trying different things the well-being group can’t resolve the conflict then as a last resort they can take it to a whole group meeting to decide on what further course of action should be taken.
The group’s consensus decision (minus the parties involved) in the conflict must be respected by those parties. If they do not respect this decision then they should question whether they should be in the group. As a group we will commit to helping people though the process.
Safer Spaces Policy
In writing this policy we acknowledge that the creation of a safe working and living environment for all will be conducive to our collective functioning and the practical application of our ideals and principles.
It is a mutual agreement to be taken on and considered by all group participants in order to facilitate the cooperative functioning and well-being of the group.
Our site will be a space where people feel supported and respected by one another and motivated to work together cooperatively. Intimidation and discrimination will not be tolerated.
- Respect people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
- We run our meetings and our space using the process of consensus which allows everyone an equal voice in Grow Heathrow. We ask those on site to abide by collective decisions reached by consensus.
- We try to be an equal space. There is no space for discrimination against others on any grounds, including but not exclusive to religion, gender identification, race, mental health, political affiliation, (dis)ability, sexuality.
- Take responsibility for your own actions, and consider how your behaviour and speech affect others. Remember that not everyone reacts the same way.
- Respect other’s thoughts and opinions. This doesn’t mean we all have to agree, but that discussion is entered into without prejudice or personal insult.
- There may be certain situations when you feel comfortable using language which some may find offensive or derogatory – Grow Heathrow is not an appropriate space for this. You do not know who will overhear you, and how they will react to this.
- Look out for others, and try not to leave anything around that may endanger their physical safety.
- Be aware of yourself and how you are feeling. If you need assistance, do not be afraid to ask someone or call a friend. Removing yourself physically from a situation can be a great help.
- We are a working site… no booze in the day except special occasions.
- Police in unifom/on duty are not allowed on site