Green Hearts on the Howard Estate

The Howard Estate Green Hearts are the latest winners of the Outstanding Achievement in the Community Award.

Green Hearts originally created by four residents from the Howard Estate, have been presented the Bury in Bloom & Bury Society ‘Outstanding Achievement in the Community’ award by Bury St Edmunds Town Mayor Peter Thompson at a small ceremony on Tuesday.

The wet day did not dampen the spirits of the group founded by Johnny Chandler, Aaron Goodman, Scarlett Brabrook and Liam Hayes, who have now been joined been joined by Vicki Brown and Naomi Hamer.

The committee of six have becoming a very active community group that have made some big changes on the estate and established the concept of the ‘Safe to Knock’ scheme. Safe to Knock means that anyone in need of assistance can find help by looking for a house displaying a Green Heart.

Green Hearts were very active during the first few months of lockdown helping to collect goods for care packages for the NHS and a few members have also taken it upon themselves to make small repairs around the estate caused by vandalism.

Inspired by their work, other residents are doing everything from litter Picking to communal gardening and posting pictures of the results on the ‘Howard Estate Community Page’ Facebook group.

Green Hearts are planning a Christmas care packages for vulnerable residents, a boxing gym and communal space, and have just received confirmation of a new outdoor playground gym to be built in early 2021 for which they have so passionately fought.

Founder Johnny Chandler said ‘I strongly believe that community engagement is crucial and that if you include children in projects that help vulnerable residents, you will gain a mutual understanding of respect. They grow up knowing the adults around them and this reduces anti-social behaviour. It gives younger members of the community a focus as well as breaking down unhelpful stereotypes and this creates an all-round close-knit community’.

David Irvine Co-ordinator of Bury in Bloom who administrate the award scheme said, ‘The Green Hearts are an incredible example of what can be done by a small group working together and inspiring a whole community. They are very deserving winners and we thank Naomi Hamer for the nomination’.

Bury in Bloom are actively seeking other nominations in the town and look forward to presenting more awards. David Irvine can be emailed on

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