Hackney food-growing project for children to be boosted by City of London grant

The Sonshine Club, a charity based in Hackney, has been awarded over £33,000 by the City of London Corporation’s charity, City Bridge Trust, to continue the work of its ‘Grow to Eat – Eat to Grow’ project.

‘Grow to Eat – Eat to Grow’ is one of the projects that Sonshine runs to improve the education, health and well-being of the local community. This particular project has been run for children aged 8-13 over the past seven years, and focuses on teaching them about the importance of healthy eating through food-growing and other environmental activities. Most of the children come from low income families with limited access or no access to outdoor space and some also have special educational needs.

Every year, about 80 children benefit from 16 weekly gardening sessions offered by ‘Grow to Eat – Eat to Grow’ in Hackney’s Springfield Park, during the summer months. By growing fruit, herbs and vegetables and sharing food with families and friends, these children have the chance to improve their knowledge and understanding of where food comes from and the connection between a balanced diet and good health. Older members of the community are encouraged to lead the sessions as volunteers and to enjoy the healthy activities alongside the younger generation.

Rachel Gruber, Director of The Sonshine Club, said:
“With the grant from City Bridge Trust, we hope to maximise the potential of this project to meet demand and deliver a good quality and high impact project. In addition, we will invest in a greenhouse where the planting will be able to continue even in the winter months. This would make a huge difference to our project, allowing the children to retain the health benefits acquired during the summer months. Eventually this lifestyle becomes the norm in a young person’s journey to adulthood, and a habit for life.”

Jeremy Mayhew, Chairman of City Bridge Trust, said:
“Nature can be a great teacher, and the importance of outdoor activities for children’s mental and physical health is well-founded. The Sonshine Club’s ‘Grow to Eat – Eat to Grow’ project provides young people with vital and practical lessons about the natural world, helping them to establish a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families. By using the life and social skills they learn at the club, participants can give back to their community while improving their health and the local environment.”

City Bridge Trust is the grant-making arm of Bridge House Estates, whose sole trustee is the City of London Corporation. It supports London’s charities and provides grants totalling around £15 million annually.

Notes to editors:

Media enquiries: Julie Zhu, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3451

About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation has three roles: we support London’s communities by working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs on economic regeneration and skills projects. The Corporation supports education - with three independent schools and three City Academies – plus a primary school and the world-renowned Guildhall School of Music and Drama. We also help look after key London heritage and green spaces including Tower Bridge, Museum of London, Barbican Arts Centre, City gardens, Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest, Burnham Beeches, and important ‘commons’ in south London. And – with its heart in London’s Square Mile - we also support and promote the ‘City’ as a world-leading financial and business hub, with outward and inward business delegations, high-profile civic events, research-driven policies and a long-term approach. See for much more on our uniquely diverse role, including the City of London Police, etc.

The City of London Corporation’s charity, the City Bridge Trust, makes grants totaling around £15 million annually to charitable projects across London. More information can be found at