Cash boost to help Camden community garden expand


A Camden charity has received a cash boost to build on a successful community gardening project, benefitting hundreds of local people.

City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder, is giving £143,000 to the Castlehaven Community Association, to continue and expand its gardening programme, Greenworks.

The charity recently transformed part of its site into a large landscaped gardening space. This has enabled it to involve the local community across all ages to engage in a range of gardening activities through volunteering.

It helps develop people’s horticultural skills, benefits health and well-being and gives local residents a sense of ownership of their local community.

With the funding the charity hopes to work with 1,500 people over three years. 

The grant will support the salary of the Greenworks co-ordinator who runs a programme of horticultural and wellness activities throughout the week, oversees the landscaping and planting of the Community Park, and coordinates a team of active volunteers.

The project also sells some of the food it produces locally, in its community greenhouse. The City Bridge Trust funding will support the expansion of this work.

Dhruv Patel, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s City Bridge Trust committee, said: “This garden provides an urban oasis for many residents in Camden, with over a thousand people volunteering at the project in the last year.

“Spending time in open spaces doing activities such as gardening has many benefits for wellbeing, so it is vital such a space is provided to residents who might not otherwise have these opportunities.

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“Now more than ever, the Trust has a crucial role to play in ensuring the sector stays strong and effective, particularly by helping smaller charities such as the Castlehaven Community Association.”

Established in 1987, Castlehaven Community Association (CCA) is a busy community centre, mainly serving Camden Town, an area amongst the 20% most deprived nationally for unemployment and poverty.

It manages a four-acre campus, comprising a community centre, community nursery, Castlehaven Community Park and a multisports area. As well as services and activities for families and older people, together with its horticultural/environmental programme, it also runs two social enterprises which generate income for the charity.

These are the Littlehaven Community Day Nursery and the All Weather Multisports Pitches.

The CCA are currently providing online environmental activities, zoom workshops and giving gardening advice over the phone during the Covid-19 lockdown.

People can access these through the charity’s social media pages and also if they sign up to their Community Parks & Horticulture Hub weekly newsletter.

Tricia Richards, chief executive of the Castlehaven Community Association, said: “This funding is a true life line to continue our hard work in developing our two Community Parks in the heart of Camden Town, and to provide engaging and educating workshops through our Horticultural Hub, whilst encouraging the local community to get fit and active with regular gardening sessions within our green spaces. 

“The majority of this funding will be put towards paying for our Environmental Engagement Manager, who’s role is key to the success of our new Greenworks project.

“They’ll provide a multitude of environmental activities for the local community of all ages and diverse backgrounds to improve their mental health and wellbeing, learn new skills and to make a difference to the local environment, whilst making many friends.

“The local community will need our Community Parks and mental health & well-being activities more than ever to help recover after Covid-19 epidemic.”

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