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Reborn green oasis helps East End kids get healthy

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A community hub in east London is helping children get healthy, get active and grow and cook their own food, after bringing an unused allotment space back to life.

Shadwell Community Project has employed a gardener to turn the site into an oasis of home-grown produce and teach local children the joys of harvesting and eating their own fruit and vegetables.

The organisation, based at the Glamis Adventure Playground, is also looking for adult volunteers to get involved in gardening, and will hold open days aimed at bringing the community together.

The scheme is being funded with a £26,340 grant from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charity funder, which gives out over £25 million a year to projects across the capital.

City Bridge Trust Chairman Giles Shilson said:

“This funding is helping to turn a previously unused area of the adventure playground site into a thriving green hub where children and adults alike can get their hands in the soil and grow their own food.

“The prolonged periods of lockdown during the pandemic have really highlighted the value and the health benefits schemes like this have in helping people get outdoors and make social connections with others.”

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Scheme organisers say many children in the area exist on a diet high in fat and sugar and families don’t always know how to grow, prepare and cook healthy fruit and vegetables.

The project will encourage them to go ‘back to basics’ and move to a diet lower in carbohydrates and fat and higher in protein, fruit and veg.

Shadwell Community Project’s Playground Manager Candace Lewis said:

“This project will improve people’s health and wellbeing, build their social connections, make our site better-used and more accessible and have an impact on nutrition and diet for children and the whole family.

“It’s about educating people about nature and food growing, helping them understand the importance of biodiversity and taking care of green spaces and getting back in touch with nature and being outdoors.

“We want the site to be seen as a resource for everyone rather than just a children’s playground – it’s a space for the whole community.”

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