Food-growing charity wins funding to expand project in park

A community food growing project for children has been awarded a grant of more than £33,000 by the City Bridge Trust.

Sonshine Club girls
Sonshine Club girls

Hackney charity The Sonshine Club will use the money to expand the work of its ‘Grow to Eat – Eat to Grow’ project into the winter months by investing in a greenhouse.

The project has been running for seven years and teaches children aged from eight to 13 about the importance of healthy eating through food-growing and other environmental activities. 

Most of the children come from low income families with limited access or no access to outdoor space and some also have special educational needs. 

Every year, about 80 children benefit from 16 weekly gardening sessions offered by ‘Grow to Eat – Eat to Grow’ in Springfield Park, Hackney, during the summer months. Older members of the community are encouraged to lead the sessions as volunteers and to enjoy the healthy activities alongside the younger generation.

Director Rachel Gruber said: "With the grant from City Bridge Trust, we hope to maximise the potential of this project to meet demand and deliver a good quality and high impact project. The greenhouse would make a huge difference to our project, allowing the children to retain the health benefits acquired during the summer months.  Eventually this lifestyle becomes the norm in a young person’s journey to adulthood, and a habit for life."

The project also aims to improve knowledge of where food comes from and the connection between natural food, a balanced diet and good health among city children.

Chairman of the City Bridge Trust Jeremy Mayhew said: "Nature can be a great teacher, and the importance of outdoor activities for children’s mental and physical health is well-founded. By using the life and social skills they learn at the club, participants can give back to their community while improving their health and the local environment"

City Bridge Trust is the grant-making arm of Bridge House Estates, whose sole trustee is the City of London Corporation. It supports London’s charities and provides grants totalling around £15 million annually.

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