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Sowing the Future in Croydon to Become the UK’s Greenest Borough

8th April 2021
  • Grow With John Campaign
The John Whitgift Foundation launch 'Grow With John' campaign.

The John Whitgift Foundation, which has supported Croydon’s community for 425 years, has launched a new ‘Grow with John’ campaign with the goal to make Croydon the UK’s greenest borough and inspire Croydon’s 400,000-strong population to join in sowing free seeds, get involved in gardening projects and bring more green life to Croydon in 2021.

The community website for the campaign, www.GrowWithJohn.org, has information and ideas to reach all ages and backgrounds of people, and inspire everyone to take up gardening, whether or not they have a garden. Residents can order FREE seed packs, which can be grown on a windowsill, porch, or garden. 

Being outdoors and gardening are proven activities to help people’s mental health and well-being and, after a year of stressful lockdowns and restrictions, The John Whitgift Foundation is launching this campaign to help support Croydon’s community’s future. Whether you are nine or ninety, the John Whitgift Foundation wants to help get the community involved. 

FREE seed packs will also be distributed across five Croydon schools, utilising the power of plants to rebuild the vital life skills of confidence, resilience, teamwork and communication that have suffered over the lockdown year. 

The campaign ‘Grow With John’ will partner with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to pilot their Grow Social programme across five care homes in the borough. The initiative, which has been created to help address the issue of loneliness, will aim to bring residents together through growing and sharing gardening memories, helping to enrich the lives of those who have been most isolated throughout COVID-19. 

Catherine Shirley, Head of Marketing and Communications, John Whitgift Foundation, said: “Celebrating 425 years of supporting people of all ages and backgrounds across Croydon, this is the biggest community project in our history and will bring the joy of gardening direct to the heart of our residents. The campaign will work to improve mental health, healthy eating, and sustainable living across the borough, and we can’t wait to paint the town green and see what residents get growing.”

Alan Titchmarch MBE, said: “Gardening is such a life-saver, both for individuals and in communities: it fosters our understanding of the natural world, feeds us and lifts our spirits. Congratulations to the wise people of Croydon on the 'Grow with John' project which is a brilliant idea and one which I hope other schools and communities will learn from. Grow well!”

The year-long Grow with John community gardening campaign is spearheaded by leading local charity the John Whitgift Foundation to mark its historic 425th anniversary. 

Founded back in 1596 by the Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift to help support people of all backgrounds across Croydon, this initiative will launch one of the most ambitious campaigns to date in the charity’s long history, helping to inspire residents of all ages and abilities to discover the joy of gardening. 

Croydon residents can sign up to the newsletter now for gardening tips and download their own FREE seed packs via the website. 

For more details on how to get involved, see: www.GrowWithJohn.org or follow at Twitter @1596Whitgift | Instagram @johnwhitgiftfoundation | Facebook @JohnWhitgiftFoundation 

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