Combining natural & community heritage we aim to teach people and their communities’ practical ways to sustain, conserve, protect and improve the natural environment and, through education and training, improve people’s health and wellbeing using growing, cooking and the natural world.
Facilitating our charitable objectives from the Heritage Walled Kitchen Garden and Community Wellbeing Hub we aim to:
- Restore, Conserve, Protect and Enhance the natural, cultural and physical heritage assets of the site and, using lessons from the past, create an inclusive community hub for all to enjoy whilst sustaining it for the future;
- Combine community heritage and the natural environment to support life-improving programmes, promoting sustainable economic and social development of the site’s communities with specific focus on marginalised groups across Rother, Hastings and West Kent;
- Using the site’s natural assets, develop and deliver educational and social activities that use growing and cooking, combined with traditional heritage skills and practices to reconnect communities and generations;
- Restore heritage crop production maintaining rare and heritage seed varieties;
- Increase and protect the site’s biodiversity;
- Increase the skills base amongst volunteers and service users by providing access to and knowledge of, healthy food, ‘in season’ food growing, nutrition theory, community heritage rural craft skills and environmental and ecological issues;
- Facilitate outreach programmes to improve health and well-being within our communities specifically those who are traditionally harder to reach;
- Enable people to grow their own food and eat more local food, thereby reducing food associated carbon footprints;
- Create a resilient community by bringing together people from a variety of backgrounds and age groups, breaking down barriers and becoming a beacon and landmark at the heart of the community for people to enjoy for generations to come.
“Give a child a carrot and you feed it for a meal. Teach a child to garden and you feed it for life”. Combine this with teaching vital cooking skills, as well as enhancing a child’s understanding of the benefits of healthy, nutritious food and you start a process that will provides invaluable benefits to our children for the rest of their lives. Working with ESCC, KCC as well Primary and Secondary Schools throughout Hastings, Rother and West Kent, Hands of Hope will run a variety of projects to support our main aims.
Loneliness is a bigger problem than simply an emotional experience. Research shows that loneliness is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Campaign to end Loneliness) and Rother, Hastings and West Kent, shows a notably higher proportion of elderly compared to county, regional and national averages. Rural areas have a unique set of circumstances that can exacerbate the social isolation felt by older residents leading to poor health, loss of independence and lower quality of life. Working alongside ESCC and KCC as well as local NHO’s, HOH will run a number of projects to support our ageing population.
The Wall will be designed as a Community space to teach, train and encourage healthy food choices among adults and children, bringing both generations together to support our aims of tackling childhood obesity and loneliness. The Wall will enhance local access to in-season, fresh fruit and vegetables. We will also provide facilities offering family nutritional education as well as areas for physical activity for adults and children alike, via gardening, cooking and play.
The Journey so far.....
Peasmarsh to Hawkhurst:
In 2016, Hands of Hope undertook its first “Growing” project in association with Robertsbridge Community College as well as joining forces with Northiam Seniors Lunch Club, where we now regularly cook. We have also acquired our first official “Live Life on the Veg Cook Van” which we hope to use at various events to help raise funds for our projects.
In 2017 we received planning permission for a new community facility in Hawkurst which we call “The Wall”, which will be our main base for the many projects we will run to help tackle childhood obesity and loneliness.