Our first project, which ran for almost two years, combined horticultural training with community outreach program at Time and Talents, a charity serving the community of Rotherhithe and Bermondsey for over 125 years.

We delivered nationally recognised Horticulture qualifications, focusing on those in need of specialist support, improving their well-being and providing them with skills that make them more employable. We supported their transition into the workplace, through our extensive network of contacts in the area. Our first cohort of learners started their Level 1 Horticulture course in April 2014, using the raised beds and greenhouse we constructed at Time and Talents. In the 20 months to the end of 2015, 30 people completed the course. We worked in small cohorts, to ensure personalised learning and allow everyone to progress at their own pace.

Every day we harvested our own lunch from the garden, supplemented with fresh bread from a local shop. This communal meal is a central part of what we do – it’s not just about learning, but also about building a community and bringing people together. Learners also got the chance to improve the communal gardens of local estates, as part of our community engagement program. Working with local residents, we transformed over 1,500 m2 of communal areas on five separate residential areas near Time and Talents. Two of our course graduates also ran a residents’ gardening project every week, passing on their new skills to local people, to help them take pride in the public spaces which they use and now contribute to.

This project was funded primarily thanks to the United St. Saviours, the Mayor of London and People’s Postcode Trust, with additional support from the Wakefield Tetley and NewcomenCollett Foundations.

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