Bankside Open Spaces Trust

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Supporting London’s future gardeners

From street planters to sports facilities, secret gardens to public parks, Bankside Open Spaces Trust has helped to create and look after over 45 different green spaces in the SE1 area of London alone. No matter who you are or where you come from, their open spaces invite you in to escape the bustling city.

The environmental and volunteering charity was set up over two decades ago by a group of local residents. They wanted to improve people’s health and wellbeing by making where they live and work greener and more beautiful.It’s an ethos we believe in at Kusuma Trust, so we decided to partner with the Bankside Open Spaces Trust on a project to train new gardeners for their Landscape Academy – which offers landscaping services and consultancy to commercial, local authority and community organisations. 

  • 80% of Future Gardeners participants will move into further training or employment, having developed skills and confidence, and 7 urban green spaces will be created or maintained in a built-up urban area
  • The Future Gardeners project aims to secure £10,000 from gardening contracts in the pilot year, helping the project to become self-sustaining.
  • From April 2019 to March 2020, Future Gardeners maintained 19 parks and open spaces, planting 2,926 trees, shrubs and plants and 4,100 bulbs.

Improving the local environment

Our grant of £17,783 will fund a new project to train people for jobs in the horticulture industry, while at the same time improving the local environment. The nine people who take part will have completed the Bankside Open Spaces Trust’s Future Gardeners programme (link to grantee’s website) or be existing volunteers.

Each gardener will have weekly employability support, including mentoring, help with CVs, job applications and interview techniques – in both one-to-one and group settings. They’ll also gain invaluable work experience, learning skills such as how to source materials and create maintenance plans for managing green spaces. As they learn, these Future Gardeners will be creating new green spaces in SE1 and improving the local environment.

“The Landscape Academy is the next vital step in our journey to support unemployed Londoners to work in the horticultural industry. Not only will we be supporting people into work but will be improving the environment for everyone to enjoy whilst increasing biodiversity in an inner-city context. Covid-19 has had a hugely negative impact on employment and we have seen a great increase in people applying to both the Future Gardeners programme and our volunteering initiatives. We now need to take that extra step to further support people into employment in a sector struggling to recruit people with the relevant skills.”

Charlotte Gilsenan, CEO, Bankside Open Spaces Trust

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