The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation
Bringing green spaces to Kensington and Chelsea
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tends to conjure up images of wealth and opportunity. Yet some parts are among the most deprived in the country. In North Kensington, 41% of children live in poverty. In an area just off Ladbroke Grove, there’s 20 years’ difference in life expectancy across just eight streets.
The environment has an important part to play. With few local green spaces open to all, many residents have no safe space to escape from the pressures of urban living.
The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation is a grant giving organisation that supports local charities in the borough. We partnered with them to fund projects that encourage local green spaces, bring people together, and promote the benefits of gardening.
Why support green spaces?
Urban parks and gardens play a critical role in cooling cities, and trees help filter out harmful air pollution. In an area like Kensington and Chelsea, which has the second highest carbon emissions of all London boroughs, these spaces are vital.
Parks and gardens have a positive impact on the people living around them. Studies have shown that the proportion of green and open space is linked to self-reported levels of health and mental health and for all ages and socio-economic groups, through improving companionship, a sense of identity and belonging.
- Kensington and Chelsea has the second highest proportion of deaths in London attributable to air pollution. On average poor quality air brings forward everyone’s death by nearly 16 months.
- Income inequality is higher in Kensington and Chelsea than any other borough by a considerable margin.
- For each £1 spent by local authorities and their partners on public green space, Londoners enjoy at least £27 in value.
Investing in local projects
Our grant of £20,000 to the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation has allowed them to invest in projects that might otherwise struggle to secure funding.
They’ve funded the following five green space projects, helping improve people’s physical and mental health:
SPID Theatre Company, which provides free weekly gardening sessions. The grant will fund 250 hours of communal gardening activities, contributing to the increased physical and mental wellbeing of over 200 local people and a decrease in antisocial behaviour around the garden.
The Clement James Centre, which is using the grant to develop its community gardening project. It aims to improve the mental and physical health of 250 participants by providing nutrition and gardening courses, gardening groups and trips. The project will also reduce social isolation and improve residents’ nutrition.
St Mary Abbot’s Rehabilitation & Training (SMART), a project involving clearing and re-planting an overgrown garden for 30 residents of all ages. Over the year, the project is anticipated to improve the participants’ mental and physical health, while over 200 people will benefit from having access to a pleasant communal space.
Full of Life, which is expanding its gardening activities to develop a cut flower, individual plant and bee-keeping project with the community. The project aims to develop the confidence and gardening expertise of 25 young people with disabilities and build links with other local community organisations through flower donations. It also creates an opportunity for participants to engage with the wider community by selling flowers, plants and honey.
Flourish in the Forest, a programme offering offer local families exclusive access to the Maxilla Forest School to explore, play, picnic and get creative. The grant allowed Flourish in the Forest to run safely throughout the summer months, so families living in cramped conditions with limited access to outside space could have a regular weekly slot.
“Through several of the projects we already fund at Kusuma Trust, we know how important green spaces are and the difference they can make to people’s health and wellbeing. It’s great to be supporting these projects and I look forward to seeing their impact on the local community.”