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We know how important nature is to people’s mental and physical health and wellbeing, to our environment and climate and to our quality of life. As part of our commitment to developing Social Value, we are supporting Grow2Know, a London based community group that formed organically after the Grenfell Tower tragedy, as the community experienced the positive impacts nature had on the lives of so many people in a time of grief and pain. Their aim is to showcase the power of nature and give young people the necessary tools to make a positive impact in their communities.
Tayshan Hayden-Smith is the founder of Grow2Know: “I’m passionate about being part of a more inclusive environment on the horticultural scene and breaking the stereotypes of gardening. I want to empower young people through gardening and nature. Kids from my tower block in London should believe that they can do in to gardening and reap the benefits that nature provides.”
The projects that Grow2Know work on range from the Grenfell Peace Garden, a key part of bringing the community back together after the tragedy and giving them the space to grieve and heal, through to working with the charity Steel Warriors which encourages young people away from gangs and creates outdoor spaces like gyms constructed from the metal of recycled knives and blades.
Martina Girvan, Head of Ecology and Arboriculture at Arcadis, has been working with Tayshan and the team at Grow2Know, providing pro bono advice and services as part of our Social Value commitment, to help the charity in their aims: “I’m so delighted to be advising Grow2know to support them in achieving their ambitious and vital goals of using nature to drive benefits for health, wellbeing and community cohesion around the Grenfell-affected area and beyond. It’s been fantastic to see the team grow and the community flourish, and I look forward to continuing our partnership and supporting the team to build gardens that inspire, educate and heal, whilst empowering more diverse communities through horticulture.”
Watch this video to learn more about how we are using green spaces to uplift and unify through nature.