Category: News

Wonford Planters

wonford planters

Wonford Planters formed in 2016. We are a small community voluntary gardening group and we all live on the Burnthouse Lane estate. Cuts to local authority funding have meant that a lot of the public green spaces in the area had become very unsightly and badly overgrown. This is where we step in.

We love our community and our aim is to enhance and improve these spaces for the benefit of Wonford residents and Exeter as a whole, making the whole area much improved for all who live here and anyone travelling through it.


In 2016 we began work on the mini-roundabout in Laburnum Road. This was very badly overgrown and will take some time to improve but it’s getting there. In the summer of 2016 Wonford entered the ‘Village’ category of South West in Bloom for the first time and we achieved a silver award. Wonford Planters as a group entered the IYN ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ category and we achieved ‘Level 3 – Advancing’. We were extremely proud to attain this level at our first attempt.

In 2017 we worked on the Wonford Green GP surgery gardens and planted many wildflowers.

We plan to plant more this year.









Another of our projects is the two spaces outside the One Stop shop and the Dolphin Fish & Chip shop in Burnthouse Lane. In 2016 we began to raise funds to make repairs and improvements to these spaces and enlisted the help of Graham Densham and his lads from the Dolphin.


We had various set-backs and delays in gaining information from Devon County Council and then found more funding had to be raised in order to get the repair work and improvements done. Finally, in January this year we achieved it.

Here are the before and after pictures.













The next steps now are to get these areas planted up with suitable shrubs and plants and we hope you will agree that it’s a vast improvement on what they looked like previously.


We are planning to enter South West in Bloom again this year and would greatly appreciate any feedback or ideas. Please contact us via our Facebook page, ‘Wonford Planters’, or Twitter, @wonfordplanters.


And finally, some history of our estate. During the 19th century the West Quarter of Exeter had become a slum area with overcrowded and unhygienic accommodation. The City Council embarked on an ambitious development of new housing, using some of the new ideas developed by the ‘Garden City Movement’. On 21st February 1928 a compulsory purchase order was made by the City Council for 90 acres of farmland on either side of a lane in Wonford, which took its name, Burnthouse Lane, after a farmhouse that burnt to the ground one Saturday night.


The estate was designed by city architect John Bennett with the ethos of the Garden City in mind. They built schools, churches, shops, a recreation ground and its own pub, the Dolphin, named after the Dolphin Tavern that was established in Guinea Street in the West Quarter in 1844. Bradley Rowe School (now Wynstream) was built in 1932 and was a mixed primary school with a separate secondary school. In 1937 boys from the secondary school were transferred to the Senior Boys School at Ladysmith Road and in 1952 the girls transferred to Priory High School (now Isca College).


Wonford Planters’ aim is to bring back some of the garden city ethos and reintroduce the power of plants and colour back into Wonford.


Thank you for reading.

Wonford Planters – update November 2017

This year we’ve made substantial improvements to the uncared for spaces around Wonford. Our current work includes the brick planters along Burnthouse Lane and the mini roundabout in Laburnum Road. We’ve also worked with the Wonford Surgery GPs to improve and enhance the surgery gardens and will soon begin work on the top corner of Kipling Drive. Large wildflower areas are now in place around the lower end of Burnthouse Lane and we have plans for more in 2018.

wonford planters


Funding from city and county ward grants have meant that we’ve been able to procure the services of the Community Payback teams to assist with some of the heavier work and they’ve also planted many spring bulbs around the area. We also work in conjunction with Wynstream Primary School who supplied compost and wood chip materials. Even the cat helped…

wonford planters

One of our main projects is the two spaces outside the One Stop shop and the Dolphin Fish & Chip shop. We’ve had a few quotes for repairs to the edges and installation of a low fence and are planning to submit a further bid for the funding to get the work done. Once the edges are repaired we can then plant up with suitable shrubs and spring bulbs.

This summer we entered the It’s Your Neighbourhood category of South West in Bloom and achieved a ‘Level 4; Thriving’ award, which is one step up from 2016.

And finally, a bit of history; during the 19th century, the West Quarter had become an impoverished slum area, with crowded and unhygienic accommodation. On 21 February 1928 a compulsory purchase order was made by Exeter City Council for 90 acres of farmland on either side of a lane in Wonford, which took its name, Burnthouse Lane, after a farmhouse that burnt to the ground one Saturday night. The estate was designed by city architect John Bennett and built with the ethos of the ‘Garden Suburb Movement’.

More recent times have seen our public green spaces falling into disrepair and becoming uncared for and unsightly. The aim of Wonford Planters is to make these spaces lovely again for the benefit of our community, thereby bringing the Garden City ethos back to Wonford!

wonford planters

Community Cafe

Community Café opening, in the Phoenix Suite (next to the sports centre)
Mondays 1pm -3pm and
Thursdays 10am – 12pm
Join us for a tea or coffee, find out more about what’s on in Wonford



Friendly Community Together Award Nominations!

Wonford has two of the four nominations in the Friendly Community Together Section of the Express and Echo Community Awards!


Wonford COGs

Wonford COGs brings together different community organisations and groups to find out what each is doing, to support each other and to work together. The Echo nomination said that ‘this group has developed a wonderful community atmosphere in the ward’


Phoenix Suite Project

Bernice Endicott, Sue Bulled and Helen Moore have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to set up the Phoenix Suite and Community Hub in the empty Phoenix Youth Club building. The Echo nomination said ‘all have families and full-time jobs but this hasn’t deterred them from endless meetings, planning, organising and promoting.’


Good luck to both at the award ceremony on 25th November!

Job Vacancy

The Phoenix Suite at
Wonford Community and Learning Centre
has a vacancy for a
Volunteer Co-ordinator

The post would involve recruiting volunteers for the Phoenix Suite which will be opening soon.

The Volunteer Co-ordinator would be responsible for providing training for volunteers and for their support and supervision. They would also be responsible for DBS checks and safeguarding issues.

The Volunteer Co-ordinator will take the lead in setting up a Pop-up Café one morning and one afternoon a week.

A more detailed job description can be found by clicking here.

Hours: 12 hours a week to be worked flexibly including evenings and weekends.

Rate of Pay:  £8 an hour. Tax and insurance as per government legislation

The post is initially for 9 months but it is hoped funding can be found for this to continue.

If you are interested in this exciting new role please send your CV and a covering letter to The Phoenix Sub-Committee at the address below or email to

Applications must be received by 5.00pm on October 14th

Interviews will take place in the week commencing October 24th


Wonford Community & Learning Centre Limited
Wonford District Centre
Exeter, EX2 6NF

Tel. (01392) 217868                                        Registered Company No. 5908666                                      Registered Charity No. 1116666

The Phoenix Suite

It is with great pleasure that Wonford Community and Learning Centre Ltd announce that it has acquired the lease of the Phoenix Suite!

This will be particularly for the young people of our community and we hope to be up and running by December 2016
Splash Community Projects will be doing the alterations and will be giving skills and work experience to young people.


At a Wonford COGs meeting in March 2014 the likelihood that Devon County Council would be closing the Phoenix Youth Centre was discussed.

The Phoenix Community Action Team (CAT) was set up to look at the possibility of the community taking over the building. The Phoenix CAT talked with potential partners, funders and users and were delighted when the Trustees of the Wonford Community and Learning Centre decided to take this on!


The Trustees are very pleased to announce that the paperwork is at last completed and they have the lease of the Phoenix! Robin Quant the Secretary of the Wonford Community and Learning Centre Trust said ‘This year is the 30th anniversary of the Community Centre and this great achievement is due to 30 years of volunteer commitment. Taking on the Phoenix Suite shows that, as well as celebrating the past, we are looking to the future and to continuing to serve our community’


The alterations to make the building suitable for use by the whole community will be done by Splash Community Projects who will be using the project to give skills and work experience to young people.

It is hoped that the work will be completed ready for the Phoenix to open in December and one of the priorities is to provide an evening for young people in the area.


The Phoenix will be run by a sub-committee of Trustees and Phoenix CAT members and they hope to find a variety of volunteers including making tea at a Pop-Up café, promoting the Suite on Facebook and welcoming users. If you are interested in being part of this exciting new venture then please get in touch at



Crowdfunder for Abbi

Abbi lives in Wonford, Exeter, is 25 years old, 4.8 tall and has Duane’s Radial Ray Syndrome and she is trying to prove people wrong about her abilities.



The aim of the project is to help raise funds towards travel, accommodation and entry fees for the European Para-badminton Championships!

This will be Hannah’s first international tournament and my (Abbi) third -currently ranked within the world top ten of the SU5 classification.

Please help us realise our dreams of competing with the best in the would!

See the funding page here: Crowdfunder Project


abbi 3

Wonford News June 2016

The latest issue of the Wonford News is about to be circulated to local shops, the Community Centre and the Doctors Surgery.

For those who want to see it now, its available online here.

Look out for our competition and make a note of the dates for your diary section.

if you would like to submit a story/article for the next issue or for the website, please email us at

wonford news cover June 2016




Update for Consultation

Wonford Playing Field Consultation

Saturday 16th April

Wonford Sports Centre

10am – 2pm

Wonford Playing Field proposals_consultation poster_(final)_16 04 16


For more Information: Contact Project Manager Peter Wilkinson at or you can speak to one of the local people
who are part of Wonford COGs (Community Organisations and Groups)