£167k boost to South London charity helping people with mental health

Hundreds of south Londoners suffering from mental health challenges will receive extra support thanks to new funding for a community horticultural project from City Bridge Trust.

A group of volunteers, helping make raised accessible beds at Sydenham Gardens
  • Published: 5 July 2023

Sydenham Gardens’ Growing Lives project offers weekly social, therapeutic and vocational horticultural sessions and the chance to achieve a recognised horticultural accreditation.

The project, aimed at people in Lewisham and Bromley, has been awarded a £167,000 grant over three years from City Bridge Trust – the City of London Corporation’s charity funder.

It is important that people with mental health challenges receive the support they need, to help them reach their full potential. The Growing Lives project does extraordinary work in bringing people together and teaching them transferable skills to gain qualifications and improve their social skills, ultimately helping them be more confident. This funding will allow Sydenham Garden to help more people with mental health difficulties to participate in society and enjoy a better quality of life.
Giles Shilson, City Bridge Trust Chairman

Sydenham Garden was founded in 2002 by a small group of residents and later grew into a charity.

This project believes in the transformative power of nature, using our one-and-a-half-acre site in Lewisham as a place where people with mental health issues can reconnect with nature and the community. Our therapeutic project is designed to improve people’s mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing, and help them learn new horticultural and transferable skills, which not only boosts their employability but also their confidence and self-esteem.
David Lloyd, Sydenham Garden Growing Lives Co-ordinator

The Growing Lives Projects expects to help hundreds of people improve their wellbeing and ensure that at least 80% feel better able to represent themselves and take the next step into employment or traineeship.

More information about Sydenham Garden and the Growing Lives project is available at

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 –