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BYA feature in Kensington & Chelsea Today

30 March 2017

BYA feature in Kensington & Chelsea Today

Garden of hope in Ladbroke Grove

On Saturday 13 April, Ladbroke Grove’s community celebrated the launch of the Garden of Hope, a new gardening and food growing project. The young people from Baraka Youth Association in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea have been growing their own food at St Charles Centre Allotment in Exmoor Street, for the past four months. The Somali Baraka Youth Association partnered with environmental regeneration charity Groundwork London and the group were part of their Climate Change Youth Ambassadors programme, funded by Johnson Controls Inc. Through this they have been able to raise awareness in their community about the environment and sustainable food issues and grow their own herbs and vegetables. The young people decided to organise this event to showcase the garden and invited their community along. Activities included a gardening workshop as well as smoothie making, healthy food and games. The event was attended by 50 people including Councillor Pat Healy, Councillor Robert Mingay, young people and their families and plot holders from the allotment.  The group have been working hard to prepare their allotment, which they named Garden of Hope, for spring. As well as growing garlic, onions and herbs in their plot, they have had training in gardening techniques and tool use. They have also been propagating vegetable seeds and building frames for runner beans. They have also been raising awareness in their community by designing their own publicity materials to promote gardening sessions and using social media to spread the word.

Alice Hemming, Groundwork London, said: “The Baraka group learnt a lot about their environment and their impact upon it over the last few months and have managed to apply their learning in a fun and hands on way by growing healthy food. The young people have shown incredible commitment and determination, and they should be proud of their hard work in transforming and maintaining a community space. We look forward to continuing to support the young people and encourage them to improve their local environment.”

Abdullahi Ali, Co-ordinator of the Baraka Youth Association said:   “The young people wanted to find out how to grow food and wanted to work as a team and implement a green project. Groundwork listened to their ideas and supported them to run successful project and inform other young people.” Suad Nur, a project participant, commented:   “My experience with the Garden of Hope has enabled me to become proactive in leading and participating in the programme. Our gardening sessions have also brought us together as team as we work and strive towards the same goal. This would not have been possible without the support from Groundwork London.” The young people will continue to be supported through Groundwork London’s Good Grounds for gardening project, with regular workshops for another year, meaning that the garden will continue to flourish into the future.

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