What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Hillside Community Garden Hub will help to address a range of social, environmental, health and economic issues that affect both local people living in Lincoln and the wider population.
- Loss of knowledge and connection to the countryside, food production and farming. Although Lincolnshire is a very rural, farming county, its population, like the rest of the UK, is becoming increasingly disconnected from the countryside, farming and food production. There is currently no city farm or large community garden hub in Lincoln where people can have a hands-on experience of nature, gardening and farming for themselves. Whilst there are open farms, nature reserves and beautiful countryside close by to the city of Lincoln, not everyone visits them. It can be very hard for people who are living in poverty and disadvantage, including those- who have mental health conditions/ are on low incomes/ do not have their own transport, to get out to the countryside.
- Lack of access to community green space. There are parks and open green spaces within Lincoln, but very few of these are situated in Lincoln’s most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. It is here that they are most needed as the majority of residents in these areas live in flats, or terraced houses without gardens.
- Poverty, deprivation and unemployment. Hillside Community Garden is situated in the middle of two of Lincoln’s most deprived neighbourhoods. Concerns in these areas include crime, anti-social behaviour, childhood poverty, low levels of qualifications, high levels of unemployment and a lack of community cohesion.
- Poor diet, physical health and childhood obesity. Modern lifestyles are causing us to become more sedentary, have less time for cooking nutritious meals and spend less time out of doors. Consequentially our society is becoming more overweight and less physically healthy.
- Mental ill health.. Many factors can trigger mental illness including: stress at work or at home, bereavement, deprivation, homelessness, financial exclusion, unemployment, substance misuse, loneliness and social isolation, including membership of an ethnic minority group. These factors can operate in isolation, but pose a higher risk when two or more factors interact (e.g. unemployment and deprivation). Most of our beneficiaries experience more than one of these factors and have either already had a mental health condition or are at risk of developing one.
- Climate Change, loss of natural habitats and environmental degradation. Population growth, industrialisation, agricultural intensification and urbanisation of our landscapes are all placing our plant under increased pressures. These factors are causing, harmful, negative impacts to our environment which can be seen and felt locally and globally.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
- Loss of knowledge and connection to the countryside, food production and farming. Three quarters of all Britons now live in urban areas. 1 in 5 of these have not been to the countryside in the last 5 years (National Trust Survey, 2008). One third of UK children have never heard a cow, pig or sheep make a noise in real-life (LEAF, 2015). 1 in 10 children aged 11-14 think tomatoes grow underground (British Nutrition Foundation 2016); 78% of children don’t know that broccoli comes from a plant (LEAF, 2015)
- Lack of access to community green space. Over the past five years, we have conducted extensive consultation with over 500 local people from the communities in which we work. A reoccurring issue that keeps coming up, particularly in in deprived neighbourhoods, is the lack of green space and particularly safe green spaces for children to play in.
- Poverty, deprivation and unemployment. Hillside Community Garden sits in the middle of two neighbourhoods that are both in the top 10% most deprived communities in England. The communities on the south side of the garden are also in the 10% most deprived for deprivation relating specifically to income, unemployment, crime, health and the living environment. (Index of Multiple Deprivation, 2015).
- Poor diet, physical health and childhood obesity. Approximately 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 children (aged 10-11) in the UK are now obese. Many areas of Lincoln, including the neighbourhood in which Hillside Garden is based, have higher than average levels of obesity. Being overweight places people at a higher risk of heart disease and obesity.
- Mental ill health. An average of 1 in 6 people develop a mental health condition every week (Mind). Approximately 30% of our beneficiaries are either currently living with a mental health condition or have previously had a mental health condition
- Climate Change, loss of natural habitats and environmental degradation. Most of the developed world does not live within the sustainable limits of our planet. For example, it has been calculated that in the UK the average person uses the equivalent resources of 3.5 Earths to sustain their lifestyle (WWF). There is a high environment cost for our actions. Climate change is already having devastating effects in marginal areas of the planet and is set to bring increased extremes of weather to the UK in future. More immediate, but less well known issues include loss of biodiversity and soil erosion, both of which could threaten food security.
What is your solution?
Green Synergy tries to follow the protocol of “think globally and act locally to help create social, environmental and economic sustainability. Hillside Community Garden Hub will help to address each of the issues raised at a very local level by:
- Reconnecting people to food production, and farming and creating a slice of the countryside in the heart of Lincoln.
- Creating a new, large, community green space in an area of Lincoln which needs it most.
- Providing a friendly inclusive environment which will support people to learn new skills and reach their potential, hopefully leading to people moving into training and jobs.
- Bringing the community together and engaging with children and young people we will also help to build community cohesion and trust and reduce incidence of anti-social behaviour.
- Motivating people to get active through gardening and outdoor activities. Teaching people how to grow and cook garden produce and encouraging children to eat vegetables and fruit through the enticement of growing their own.
- Providing a welcoming, therapeutic, garden environment to support people with mental health conditions.
- Educating people about environmental issues so they can make informed choices regards things, such as food consumption and water use, that have a major impact on the environment.
- Demonstrating the use of renewable energy, composting and rainwater harvesting to encourage people to live more sustainably.
How will you deliver this?
As described in the sections above, the garden will be open free of charge for everyone to visit. We will also deliver a range of training, social and therapeutic projects to help those most in need. Each year we will work with approximately 150 participants through our projects and we will engage with a further 1000 people through general visitations to the garden and other events and activities.