Enabling people and communities to lead healthier and happier lives by connecting them to nature and each other

The Great British Build Off

Help Us Help our Communities Thrive

In May 2022 Hands of Hope launched our social and skills project “Great British Brick Off” (GBBO). This 1-year project delivered traditional bricklaying skills & pointing with lime mortar taught under the supervision of a skilled Bricklayer whilst utilising volunteer support from retired bricklayers, corporate volunteers as well as engaging with youngsters and the wider community interested in acquiring this skill. We restored the Edwardian “Wall” structure preserving a historical space, for generations to come.

GBBO achievements in 2022 included:

  • 31 New Volunteers to HoH
  • 63 Corporate Volunteers
  • 25 Social & 5 Corporate Sessions
  • 4000 bricks cleaned and reused.
  • 50 meters of wall restored.
  • 441 hours of corporate volunteering
  • 2,232 hours of community volunteering
  • Project featured on BBC South East

Phase 2 is “The Great British Build Off” which aims to use corporate and community support to continue our plans to develop a new, inclusive, community kitchen, cookery school and learning centre within the security of the Edwardian Wall. We want to make engagement with green spaces & healthier food options more available, affordable, and accessible to ensure that everyone– regardless of income, age, or ethnicity – has a fair chance of a healthy diet, access to the skills to grow their own as well as benefiting from nature-based activities.

Architect's Impression - Cook School and Greenhouse
Architect's Impression - Cook School and Greenhouse

The build itself will provide opportunities for...

  • Older people either skilled in traditional brick work and carpentry or interested in it;
  • Youngsters, 16 to 24, looking for stepping-stone training in bricklaying and carpentry, or already working in the industry and willing to demonstrate their skills; and
  • The wider community who want to make connections and learn a new skill.

More than Bricks and Mortar –
Building a Better Future for everyone

We aim to create an inclusive and diverse learning environment where everyone from our communities can have access to life-improving activities that positively impact both people and planet. Through the new training facility, which incorporates a Cook School and Greenhouse, we will:
  • Encourage a deeper understanding of global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and sustainability and our impact on it;
  • Reconnect communities with local wildlife and the environments and ecology that surrounds us;
  • Equip communities with the knowledge to help tackle and better understand future environmental challenges;
  • Provide people with the skills to grow and cook, in-season, food and where applicable, use heritage Sussex and Kent varieties;
  • Deliver cookery & nutrition sessions that focus on tackling food poverty, rural isolation and loneliness and also improve health outcomes for specific groups such as cooking on a budget, menopause, older people, teenagers, etc;
  • Our improved facilities will combine Growing, Cooking and Nature-based projects aligned to the Government’s plans to introduce a new GCSE in Natural History from 2025, as part of their flagship sustainability and climate change strategy. We will work with local Schools throughout East Sussex and Kent to deliver this new subject, supporting them on-site and remotely;
  • Deliver cooking & nutrition projects including: (i) Waste Not Want Not, (ii) Menopause Meals, (iii) Batch Cooking for Older People, (iv) Man with Pan;
  • Deliver Social Therapeutic Horticulture including DIG (Dementia Inclusive Gardening);
  • Facilitate RHS Level 1 delivery for 16–24-year-olds not in education or training;
  • Offer 20x 2-week Work Placements in Horticulture, Countryside Management and Cooking;
  • Deliver outreach programmes to support regional community projects with similar aims.


Hawkhurst Walled Garden - Architect's Impression


Do you have time to spare and would like to learn some new skills such as bricklaying? Or carpentry? All taught under the supervision of skilled craftsmen? All in all it’s just another brick in the wall, and we have quite a few to put into place! If you can volunteer your time to this project please email our brilliant Volunteer & Engagement Manager and put your name down! Email info@hohcharity.co.uk All volunteers will have their names on our virtual brick wall, which is being built alongside the physical ones, and will also be invited to the Grand Opening event when the Cook School and Greenhouse are complete.


Our target for this project is £521,106 and we have so far raised £352,650.

Your donation, no matter how small, can help us reach our goal. Invest in yourself and your community, and help us provide life-improving activities that positively impact both people and planet, by making a financial gift.

You can donate via PayPal at the button, or contact us for bank details.

As a donor you will see your name added to the virtual wall, being built alongside the physical ones. You will also be invited to the Grand Opening of the buildings when the project is finished.




We have reached 70% of our GBBO fundraising target

Materials & Equipment needed...

  • 4 sets of bathroom furniture including two accessible
  • 1st and 2nd fix electrical equipment
  • Underfloor heating materials
  • Pipework for plumbing
  • Non-slip heavy duty flooring for cookery school
  • Flooring for classroom
  • Solar Panels
  • Paint
  • Tables & chairs for classroom
  • Sound and audio equipment
  • Fire safety equipment
  • Fridges, Freezers, Dishwashers, Ovens


To make this happen we need building materials and a lot of it! Are you a construction company who could support us by donating the materials and equipment we need to complete the build? Or maybe you have been doing some of your own building work and have left over materials we might be able to use?

The legacy of your donations will be both the preservation and restoration of a historical space and creation of community hub for marginalised groups to attend.

If you can help us with materials please email james.doran@hohcharity.co.uk

Everyone who donates materials will have their names on our virtual wall which will be built alongside the physical ones and will also be invited to the Grand Opening event when the Cook School and Greenhouse are complete.

DONATE EXPERTISE – no pay for just one day

Could you give a day of your time to help your local community? To make the Cook School and Greenhouse happen we need your skills. We need carpenters, joiners, metalworkers and bricklayers to erect the buildings and we need fitters for the internal fit out. Could you do No Pay For Just One Day and help make this incredible community resource a reality?

If you can help please email james.doran@hohcharity.co.uk

All our skilled workspeople will have their names added to our virtual brick wall and will also be invited to the Grand Opening event when the buildings are complete.

Trades sought...

We’re looking for pro bono help from skilled tradespersons:

  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Carpenters
  • Floorers
  • Painters

Our focus is getting people out, active, skilled, and connected.

“Over the last couple of years, we have undertaken extensive community consultations to ensure we’re providing our community with exactly what they want. We are currently developing Hope Farm Community Garden as an inclusive space where participation in our programmes can help improve wellbeing through increased social contact, culturally valued activities, and mitigation of food poverty. Our focus is getting people out, active, skilled, and connected. Additionally, our site provides spaces for community connections between people from different demographics, including people of all ages, families, people who are isolated, disabled, in poor health and are experiencing mental health issues”.

James Doran, founder – Hands of Hope


We are grateful to the following major donors of finance, materials, equipment and pro bono labour that mean we’re well on our way…

what we’ve achieved already through phase one

Watch as Hands of Hope and the Great British Brick Off were featured on BBC South East Today’s ‘On The Map’ series.

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