Drumbeat’s allotment

Drumbeat is a special school for children and young people with autism.  It has two sites; one in Downham for children of primary age and one in Brockley for older students.

Since 2015, an allotment at KHLGA has been cultivated by 6th form students from Drumbeat.  This is co-ordinated by KHLGA plot-holder Pam Dowling.


Click here to read about how it was originally set up.

Message from Pam – June 2019

To our allotment friends from Drumbeat 6th form.

This year has been very special for us. The KHLGA committee granted us a donation of £706.00.

We have been able to rebuild the covered area on Plot 90a. Our students have helped with this project, learning skills such as digging post holes, measuring, using a bubble stick, mixing concrete and placing timber supports and eventually there will be a Perspex roof.  The students have named it “The Pavillion”.

We have also been able to buy bags of compost, netting etc from the site shop. Various plants, gloves, tools and a ‘long’ new hose have also been bought. Because Drumbeat’s plot is a long way from the water tap, we want to thank Eddie for the use of his hose.

The continued support of members of KHLGA has been very much appreciated. This support has been in many different ways.

John Wetherell took our students to his nature pond explaining about newts, frogs, dragon flies and other creatures. John is a constant companion with our students and always comes to see them on their plot and also a cheerful shopkeeper. When John is in residence the students are able to buy and pay for their goods.

Brendan, always there when needed, his nature endures and the students look forward to him joining us on a Thursday morning. He has been a great help in repairing the “The Pavillion”, helping Gary, Teaching Assistant, to extend the experiences for the students.

Many more of our KHLGA friends chat with the students which in turn helps them with their Social Skills. There is also the generosity of plot holders sharing seedlings, seeds and expertise.

The students nurture their fruit and veg. When they pick their produce, they take it back to school and sell it to staff. This helps to keep our funds up as we have to be self-sufficient. Most importantly we MUST be sure to have our rent in November.

Throughout this year we have had the support from Cynthia, Class Teacher, every week. Cynthia is the gardening force behind this very valuable resource and knows exactly what ‘going to the allotment’ means to the students.

Again many, many thanks to the KHLGA family for the donation and their continued support to Drumbeat students.

Please come and see us on Thursday mornings if you are on site.
Tea and biscuit time 11am – 11.30.

Pam Dowling

An update from class teacher Cynthia Harding.

Dear Committee members and other plot holders of KHLGA,

I write on behalf of the staff and students at Drumbeat ASD School and Outreach service to thank you for your generosity, companionship and the on-going support  that you have shown to us.

I myself have been involved in the Allotment Project for almost 4 years now since I joined the team at the Brockley site in 2016.  At that time we had been given the use of two raised beds to prepare and plant vegetables.  At this time Pam and Julie already plot holders had been working with a small group of our students; Pam had already been working on the school garden in Revelon road for some time as a volunteer. It was shortly after this that we were able to acquire Plot 89B due to Pam and Julie asking if we could be put on the list! We began working on it earnestly.

In the Autumn of 2017 the adjoining plot 90B became available as the previous plot holder had sadly died  – his family asked if we could have the plot which included a shed!

So we then had not one but two plots! And we have now have two sheds!

So we have been growing our own fruit and vegetables for the past four years using the produce in our cooking lessons and selling what we can to pay for our rent or any equipment we may need.

We are so grateful to have received a gift from you which has meant we have been able to buy more equipment so that we don’t have to keep transporting things between school and the allotment. Pam has kept a detailed record of everything we have spent. The items include gardening gloves; hand trowels and forks; a few full size forks, spades and rakes. New hoses so we can water both plots properly and most importantly the material we need to build our very own Drumbeat Pavilion so we have shelter when it rains and in the hot sun! 


This is Gary helped by Divarni and Dilakshan putting up the fence panels which are the sides of the Pavillion.




As Pam has already said we thank all of you for your support but especially Brendan, John, Martin, Gerry and Francois and all the other plot holders who have given us advice or just come along and visited us! As you can imagine this opportunity for our students is invaluable – they have learnt about where food comes from; how to look after plants and produce, the importance of watering and have an incredible sense of achievement when eating their home grown potatoes!

Please come and visit us, we are working on our plot every Thursday morning during term  time.

Cynthia Harding
Class teacher Empire Class