Description & History

“Connecting people and place through community gardening"

Cordwainers Grow is a Hackney-based community interest company providing opportunities for people to creatively engage with nature. We teach people about the natural world and in doing so provide opportunities for communities to come together, share ideas and collaborate. Our services are open to all but particularly targeted at those at risk of social isolation. Our core service delivery if formed of 3 elements:

1. Running free community workshops to teach and inspire:

  • providing opportunities for people to learn about the creative uses of plants through topics like organic food growing, wildlife gardening, arts & crafts

2. Promoting community gardening through training, mentoring and support:

  • training opportunities for individuals/groups who need assistance is setting up or running a project

  • offering advice and mentoring for projects that need support

  • building the capacity of new and existing spaces by facilitating volunteer sessions to complete important tasks eg. building new raised beds, planting a fruit orchard

3. Providing volunteering opportunities for people to meet and learn new skills:

  • opportunities for people to learn new skills, take part in healthy activity, meet new people, share ideas and learn in a safe and welcoming environment

The impact of our work is focused around education, promoting health and well-being and community cohesion. As a small team of 3, we work in partnership with other organisations to deliver services to a wide range of beneficiaries including children, vulnerable adults and ethnic minority communities. In our first year as an organisation we received financial support from Team London, Big Lottery and Hackney Council. Our Grow a London Garment project engaged over 400 people last year for which we were commended by Voluntary Arts with an Epic Award. 

We are a young and dynamic grassroots organisation living within the communities that we support giving us an unrivalled personal approach and a deeper understanding of our target audience. Volunteering with us makes a huge difference to our capacity and ability to reach more people in the community.

Our achievements in 2015

  • Engaged with 775 people through community events and outreach
  • Trained up 24 people through our Grow a Gardener scheme
  • Provided opportunities for 230 volunteers contributing 1331 volunteer hours
  • Delivered 272 hours free community events (workshops, activities, fun days)
  • Engaged over 150 children through project work
  • Supported 10 other community gardening projects through volunteer support and mentoring

Our objectives

1. To teach people about their environment in engaging and interesting ways
2. To bring people together to encourage a feeling of being part of a community
3. To provide a safe, welcoming space for participation and collaboration
4. To provide opportunities for people to gain skills and knowledge
5. To promote healthy lifestyles
6. To promote and encourage volunteering

Key Impact

1. Education 

  • increasing people's understanding of why nature is so important and how to protect it
  • new skills relating to horticulture, arts, crafts and culture

2. Health & Wellbeing

  • increasing both physical and mental well-being through gardening and community events

3. Community Cohesion

  • increasing participation and collaboration between people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and ages

Our values

Integration – bringing different communities of people together

Creativity – uniqueness and imagination across all projects

Protecting the environment - promoting the importance of the preservation of nature

About the organisation

Cordwainers Grow

Natalie Mady
Organisation’s website: