Newsflash: new campaign to inspire locals to take up gardening

Last month, the John Whitgift Foundation, a charity that has supported the local community for 425 years, announced its ambition to help Croydon become the UK’s greenest borough, by launching a campaign to inspire over 400,000 residents to take up gardening in 2021.

The ‘Grow with John’ gardening programme is run through a dedicated microsite which hosts content for the community, made by the community. Residents of all ages can order FREE Seed Packs to get started on their green-fingered journey, allowing them to transform their garden, porch, or windowsill.

Following a year that has seen restrictions for all ages in the wake of COVID-19, the borough-wide ‘Grow With John’ plan is rolling out of thousands of seed packets at local schools and care homes. Whether you are nine or ninety, the Foundation is determined to get everyone involved!

Full of activities designed to inspire creativity with any windowsill, balcony or porch, the ‘Grow With John’ microsite is packed with fun, easy and affordable tips and resources for gardeners of all ages and abilities to start their green-fingered journey. 

All microsite resources have been collected from residents across Croydon, with local families, teachers and allotment owners all showing their support by sharing their journey as they get to grips with growing.

Sowing the seeds of the future in schools: It’s back to school for the borough, and with the benefits of being outdoors well documented as a boost to physical and mental well-being – now more than ever it is crucial for children to reconnect with each other outside. Free seed packs will be distributed across five Croydon schools, utilising the power of plants to rebuild the vital life skills of confidence, resilience, teamwork and communication that have suffered over the lockdown year.

Green Fingered Grandparents: Grow With John has partnered with the RHS to pilot their Grow Social programme across five care homes in the borough. The initiative, which is designed to help address the subject of loneliness, will aim to bring residents together through growing and sharing gardening memories to help enrich the lives of those who have been most isolated throughout COVID-19. 

Catherine Shirley, Head of Marketing and Communications, John Whitgift Foundation, said: “Celebrating 425 years of supporting people of all ages and backgrounds across Croydon, this is the biggest community project in our history and will bring the joy of gardening direct to the heart of our residents. The campaign will work to improve mental health, healthy eating, and sustainable living across the borough, and we can’t wait to paint the town green and see what residents get growing.”

Alan Titchmarsh MBE, said: “Gardening is such a life-saver, both for individuals and in communities: it fosters our understanding of the natural world, feeds us and lifts our spirits. Congratulations to the wise people of Croydon on the ‘Grow with John’ project which is a brilliant idea and one which I hope other schools and communities will learn from. Grow well!”

The year-long Grow with John community gardening campaign is spearheaded by leading local charity the John Whitgift Foundation to mark its historic 425th anniversary. Founded back in 1596 by the Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift to help support people of all backgrounds across Croydon, this initiative will launch one of the most ambitious campaigns to date in the charity’s long history, helping to inspire residents of all ages and abilities to discover the joy of gardening.

For more information and to order your free seeds, CLICK HERE

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