Kent food education charity secures CLA Charitable Trust funding to help reconnect people with produce and the environment

Charity awarded £5,000 to get more people learning outdoors in the Garden of England
Communigrow helps connect youngsters with nature in Kent - resized for enews.jpg
Communigrow helps connect youngsters with nature in Kent

A food education charity in Kent has been awarded £5,000 from the CLA Charitable Trust (CLACT) to help get more people outdoors learning about seasonal produce and the environment.

The trust is funded almost entirely by subscriptions and donations from members of the CLA, an organisation which represents nearly 30,000 farmers, landowners and rural businesses.

It provides grants to charities and community organisations who share its vision to help connect young people who are disabled or disadvantaged with the countryside and nature.

Communigrow, based in Ditton, is among the groups to successfully apply for funding in the most recent round of awards. It educates people about freshly grown food, the environment, conservation, and health and well-being, running hands-on field sessions for residents from Ditton, East Malling, West Malling, Larkfield, Snodland, Maidstone, Aylesford and surrounding areas.

Maria Paez, Community Engagement Manager, said: “Communigrow is delighted to have received generous support from the CLA Charitable Trust to expand our project in Ditton/East Malling.

“The grant is enabling us to cover additional costs of reaching more people who can benefit from outdoor activities and our educational programmes.

“The decision to appoint a dedicated Community Gardener and a Produce Gardener to increase our capacity was made recently. The new team members will help us to support an increased number of young people from across Kent.

“We intend to double the number of young people supported annually to 280 within the next two years, including young refugees and asylum seekers, young carers and those suffering marginalisation or complex disadvantages through neglect or abuse.

“The CLA Charitable Trust grant is funding this expansion plan. This will allow us to offer education, skills and new opportunities for young people. They will be learning about growing fresh food without chemicals, supporting biodiversity, protecting wildlife habitats as well as additional practical support to improve their life skills and prospects for engaging in ongoing training and employment.”

Bridget Biddell, Chairman of CLACT, said: “Communigrow has ambitious and hugely worthwhile plans to grow the number of young people they train with skills for growing and harvesting fruit and vegetables, and learning about biodiversity and nature.

“The CLACT grant is particularly aimed at young people facing complex challenges and special needs, and the opportunities that Communigrow offers will be life-changing.”

More about CLACT

Since its foundation in 1980, the trust has given £2m in grants to a wide variety of organisations and projects. If you would like to know more about applying for funding, or to donate, visit https://www.cla.org.uk/about-cla/charitable-trust/

For more information about the CLA and its work, visit www.cla.org.uk/your-area/south-east/regional-news and follow @CLASouthEast on Twitter.

Key contact:

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Mike Sims CLA South East Communications Manager