South London food growing project will help hundreds more residents

Hundreds of Lambeth residents will learn how to grow their own food, make friends and improve their health – thanks to new funding for a social action charity.

Almost a decade ago, Loughborough Junction Action Group – known locally as LJAG – began turning a patch of vacant open space between Brixton, Herne Hill and Camberwell into a thriving community farm.

Now, the charity has been awarded £84,500 by City Bridge Trust to help it bring more people to Loughborough Farm to learn how to grow, cook and eat their own food.

The grant will fund 100 growing sessions a year plus horticultural and healthy eating workshops and outreach sessions at local housing estates to encourage residents to grow food on their own balconies.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“Loughborough Farm is a great example of a community coming together to improve its environment and the lives of its residents.

“This funding will enable LJAG to help even more people experience the physical and mental benefits of being in nature, making friends and eating more healthily.”

Participants in sessions at the farm get to take home fruit and veg grown there, while surplus produce is used at the neighbouring Platform Café, a community café with an employability programme, run by the charity, which is also benefitting from the grant.

LJAG Chair Anthea Masey said:

“Our ethos is about providing a space in which people can spend time outdoors in nature, learn horticultural skills and about the food they’re eating.

“There’s a lot of evidence that being outside in nature, enjoying the company of a diverse group of people, and getting your hands dirty makes you feel better.

“Coming to the farm means people meet and make friends with people they probably wouldn’t otherwise meet.”

More information about Loughborough Junction Action Group and its farm is at www.loughboroughjunction.org

The City of London Corporation’s charity funder, City Bridge Trust, is London’s biggest independent grant giver. It awards grants of over £30 million a year to tackle disadvantage across the capital.

It has also made an extra £200 million available over five years from 2021 to 2026 to support London’s charity sector – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

Case study: ‘I’m inspired by what’s been achieved’

Local resident Karen Hooper has been a volunteer at the farm since it started in summer 2013.  She now leads the farm’s Wish You Were Here project, an informal social prescribing project which links the farm with local health professionals.

She said: “I am inspired by what’s been achieved at Loughborough Farm since we started growing in 100 builders’ bags in 2013. We have all been on a journey, testing at times, but we have created a real sense of community. 

“I hope Wish You Were Here, our informal social prescribing project, can continue to join the dots with GPs and other well-being networks to invest in the health of our community, but we need people to share our vision and invest in us.”

Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile, dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK –  www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The City Corporation is the sole trustee of Bridge Houses Estates, a charity founded over 900 years ago to maintain London Bridge, and Members of its Court of Common Council form the Bridge House Estates Board.

Bridge House Estates is today responsible for maintaining Tower, London, Southwark, Millennium and Blackfriars Bridges. Its grants team, City Bridge Trust – founded in 1995 – awards over £30 million a year to good causes across the capital.

It has also made an extra £200 million available over five years from 2021 to 2026 to support London’s charity sector – www.citybridgetrust.org.uk

About Loughborough Junction Action Group

Loughborough Junction Action Group (LJAG) is a volunteer-led social action charity with a vision to make Loughborough Junction a great place to live in work.  We are one of Lambeth council’s neighbourhood forums. The charity runs a number of projects in addition to Loughborough Farm, and The Platform Café. These include the Grove Adventure Playground, offering supervised play to children and young people aged six to 14, and inter-generational craft workshops teaching machine sewing, knitting and crochet – www.loughboroughjunction.org

Tim Fletcher | Media officer – public services
City of London Corporation
07738 862229 | tim.fletcher@cityoflondon.gov.uk