Creating safe green spaces for people experiencing homelessness

We regularly hear about the huge health and wellbeing benefits that being in outdoor green spaces can bring. But when you’re experiencing homelessness, getting access to safe outdoor spaces, like gardens and even balconies, can be a struggle. The charity Crisis set out to change this.

In September 2022, we partnered with the Crisis’ Skylight centre in Brent, northwest London, on a special gardening project. Our grant of just under £30,000 will help to fund Roots and Shoots, which combines the practical aspects of gardening with learning about the environment and the importance of biodiversity.

  • At least 50 people currently supported by Crisis will have the opportunity to be involved in the Roots and Shoots gardening project.
  • In 2020/21 Crisis in Brent reached 726 people through their services.
  • Crisis is for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including those forced to sleep on the streets, in cars, tents, ‘sofa-surfing’ and stuck in temporary accommodation like hostels and shelters.

Growing and sharing

Roots and Shoots participants will visit Harlesden Town Gardens every week to grow plants, herbs and vegetables and learn about their nutritional and environmental benefits. They’ll use what they’ve learnt from the sessions to improve the outside space at Challenge House, Crisis’ new premises in Brent. Together, they’ll create an inspiring and sustainable urban garden for growing and sharing with more people affected by homelessness.

Crisis Skylight Brent has been supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness since 2016. Their timetable of activities includes art drop in sessions, job clubs and IT classes.

“Connecting with green spaces amid the stresses of the city is so essential and particularly difficult for people struggling with homelessness. The Crisis Root and Shoots project represents a fantastic marriage of gardening and environmental learning with the creation of a safe and welcoming green space for all.”

Clay Kelly, Grants, Assistant, Kusuma Trust

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