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Project information

Plant to Plate

Using foods grown in our roof garden, a medicinal herbalist will deliver 10 fortnightly sessions; each will focus on an element of diet and nutrition. The course will include visits to local, national and physic gardens to learn about different edible, useful, medicinal and historical plants.

June 2018 - October 2018

Charity information: Southwark Carers

Southwark Carers logo
  • Need


    Carers Allowance lowest of the income replacement benefits, results in carers suffering from food poverty, 3,646 People were fed by Southwark Foodbank 2015-2016.

    Food poverty results in poor diets, a huge risk factor for major diseases e.g. cancer. It relates to 30% of life years lost in early death and disability.

    Previously, we held ad hoc sessions positive feedback about the knowledge shared and the camerderie.


    Carers will grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in our roof garden, described as a haven by Carers.

    Working in the garden will allow carers to experience gentle physical exercise. Being together in a group will allow carers to form new friendships and create wider support networks, thus reducing social isolation, 8 out 10 feel isolated, and improving their mental well being. Food poverty reduced.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce food poverty by helping carers understand what they are eating


    » Fortnightly sessions with medicinal herbalist, each session will focus on different area of nutrition or diet.

    What success will look like

    The Wellbeing Star, developed by Triangle Consulting, focuses on lifestyle, looking after yourself, managing symptoms, money and feeling positive.

    Aim 2

    Assist carers to reduce food poverty by helping them grow their own foods


    » The Carers Roof garden will provide a space for attendees to grow food, we will also provide seeds and plants for those who wish to grow food at home.

    What success will look like

    Southwark Carers are a registered provider of foodbank vouchers, we hope to see a reduction of food vouchers that are requested by attendees on the course.

    Aim 3

    Assist carers to improve lifestyle through nutrition and individual wellness goals


    » Fortnightly sessions with medicinal herbalist, each session will focus on different area of nutrition or diet.
    » The group will undertake foraging expeditions, this will have added benefit of exercise as will as introducing new foods to diets.

    What success will look like

    Attendees would set specific goals and work with the course leader to set individualised goals and actions. These would be discussed in sessions, shared learning uploaded to web.

    Aim 4

    Assist carers to look after themselves through better nutrition


    » Trip to Chelsea Physic Garden to meet herbalists who can explain the role and use of plants in medicine and nutrition.
    » Fortnightly sessions with medicinal herbalist, each session will focus on different area of nutrition or diet.

    What success will look like

    Improved scores against the Wellbeing Star and Carers will be asked to keep a wellness diary to see whether they have reduced the number of visits to their GP.

    Aim 5

    Assist carers to feel positive through group work to reduce social isolation


    » Reducing social isolation, this will be measured by attendance at events, by the use of the Wellbeing star and scale, as well as anecdotal evidence.
    » Carers will go on a foraging expedition with a medicinal herbalist who will show what foods are available from community spaces (blackberries etc...)

    What success will look like

    We will use the Campaign to End Loneliness toolkit to evaluate interventions to tackle loneliness. We will also use anecdotal evidence to support group work.

  • Impact


    Carers attending course, would be able to continue using the wellbeing star to measure progress. Roof garden will remain available for carers to plant and reap the produce.

    Upon completion of the course we would use the attendees as peer mentors to continue the project. We have an established peer monitoring project,which would be used as the model.

    Case studies, demonstrating the impact of the project.

    All materials, including tools to measure impact will be added to our website.


    Illness to key staff such as medicinal herbalist who will deliver course. Southwark Carers have other contacts who can deliver against set lesson plans.

    Carers unable to commit to the full course doe to illness of person they care for. We will place all information from the session on our website and in handouts for carers.

    Bad weather does not allow crops to grow in garden. Southwark Carers will buy foods and vegetables we will also open account with G Baldwin & Co a local herbalist.


    Southwark Carers will create a report showing the impact of the project. We will also share the knowledge gained, with local partner agencies through various forums. The project could then be replicated and used as a model of best practice.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £5,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £4,000 Medicinal herbalist 10 x 2 hr sessions including foods bought for lessons plans, print copies of handouts.
      £500 Plants and soil For carers who wish to use roof garden or build garden at home.
      £250 Labour Updating website and administration of wellbeing star
      £250 Communications preparations of letters, postage and SMS and emails.
  • Background


    The health of people in Southwark is varied compared with the England average. Southwark is one of the 20% most deprived districts/unitary authorities in England and about 28% (15,200) of children live in low income families. Life expectancy for men is lower and for women higher than the England average.
    Southwark is the 41st most deprived local authority in England (out of 326) and the 12th most deprived borough in London (out of 33).
    35% of Southwark live in the most deprived LSOAs in England


    Carers in Southwark, we will also share learning with other voluntary sector groups such as Age UK, Alzheimer's Society and Blackfriars Settlement to allow the project to be replicated. The project should also benefit GP services with a reduction of admissions and local authority if the carer is kept well and is able to continue providing care in a preventative manner.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Southwark Carers is the Carers Hub in Southwark. We provide information, advice and support for the 21,000 unpaid carers in Southwark. Southwark Carers have been established for over 30 years and have over 3,000 active carers registered with our service.

    We are a registered provider of foodbank vouchers and will contact people who have accessed these services through our organisation as potential atendees. We will use our database to identify carers in or in danger of falling into food poverty

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rob Danavell

    Operations Manager - he will be responsible for all marketing and monitoring of the project. He will co-ordinate the group sessions.

    Mala Bisson

    Medicinal herbalist will provide expert guidance and information on nutrition and the gardening project.