St Ann’s Library Community Garden & Kitchen

Completed: 2021
Location: Haringey, North London
Region: London
Other local partners: Edible London, Greater London Authority, GAP Tool Hire, Haringey Council, Travis Perkins

About the project

As part of the Mayor of London’s Grow Back Greener Fund, VIY partnered with Haringey Council and Edible London for a project at St. Ann’s Library in Tottenham in June 2021. The fund sought to convert grey spaces into green spaces for community use. The aim of the project was to transform the library’s underused garden into a regenerative growing and educational space, aiming to support young people in Tottenham to access green space, nature and to provide positive nutrition messages.

The project:

VIY managed the first phase of the project undertaking the necessary building elements to create the growing space. Over 8 weeks we and our young volunteers:

  • cleared the area of vegetation and debris, re-designed the paving work, and prepared the ground for growing food
  • built two greenhouses and a range of planters on the cleared spaces, some of which were layered at different heights to allow disabled access or use by children in pushchairs
  • converted an old bike shelter into a carpentry station and built a range of seating and a bug hotel

Edible London, a grassroots organisation who work within food poverty and sustainable food growth, then managed the site moving forward.

The young people: 16 young people volunteers referred in from the council’s Youth Justice Service, local youth organisation Loads of Talent and Switchback, who work with young men in the criminal justice system – mentored in demolition, carpentry and employability skills by six VIY Skills Mentors 

The impact:

  • 300 square meters of grey space converted in to green space
  • Community kitchen created to grow food locally and provide food/cooking education for local people
  • Visit from Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Mayor of Haringey, Adam Jogee, including subsequent PR & social coverage as part of the Grow Back Greener Fund

Accreditations gained: 10 Entry Level 3 City & Guilds accreditations in Health & Safety and Carpentry

Volunteering with VIY is keeping me busy and getting me out of the house. Work like this is what I want to do in the future as well. It’s really hands-on and I get to learn on the job. And it’s really good that I also gained a City & Guilds certificate. Bradley, 24, Switchback
The community-led projects that benefit from this programme provide so much more than just improved green space for local communities. The Cookbook Edible Library project I am visiting today provides an educational, safe space for young people to develop new skills – providing positive opportunities and alternatives to those who might be vulnerable to getting drawn into gangs. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London