Kent Community Foundation Helps Kent to Get Growing

A charity initiative to help disadvantaged families in west Kent access fresh produce has received financial support from Kent Community Foundation

Hands of Hope, deliver programmes and activities aimed at tackling rural isolation, loneliness and food poverty as well as improving the physical and mental wellbeing of communities throughout Rother, Hastings, and west Kent, by connecting them with nature and each other.

To tackle food-related issues as well as social isolation, Hands of Hope decided to restore their 2-acre derelict walled kitchen garden to create a thriving organic market garden, growing in-season produce to support the ever-increasing demand on local food banks and community support groups.

Hands of Hope applied to Kent Community Foundation for help to provide ‘Grow Kits’ for their Get Growing project and received a grant of £7,500. The Get Growing project helps to get  families and communities growing their own food, gives people access to fresh produce, and delivers any surplus food to local food banks and community groups.

Mandy Doran, Founding Member and Trustee, Hands of Hope, said,  “In July 2020, we launched Get Growing as a direct and innovative response to Covid-19. Growing and distributing fresh, in-season organic produce to local food banks and community support groups as well as encouraging communities throughout Rother, Hastings, and west Kent to grow their own food, whether they use a windowsill, a  patio,  a garden, or an allotment. Thanks to the funding from Kent Community Foundation, we have been able to provide participants with ‘Grow Kits’ which  include compost, organic seeds, pots, plug plants as well as giving them growing support, and encouragement to donate any surplus food to their local food banks and neighbours. To date, we have delivered just under 1000 Grow Kits to 600 settings including early years, schools, residential care settings, families and lone residents as well as community gardens.”




Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said, “The Hands of Hope Get Growing project has the capacity to make a real difference to the attitudes, behaviours, health, and lifestyle of a range of diverse and disadvantaged groups, leading to a more informed, better connected, and healthier community. Projects like these are just the type of initiative we would like to support from our Fund for the Environment. This new fund is open for applications, and we would love to hear from organisations who need financial help towards projects which enrich nature, connect people with green spaces and enable more sustainable and healthier ways of living.”



To find out more about funding from Kent Community Foundation visit




Notes to Editors

Research from The Food Foundation shows that the poorest 10% of households only purchase 3.2 portions of fruit and vegetables per day.

About Hands of Hope

In 2016 the charity Hands of Hope took on a neglected, heritage walled kitchen garden and 22 adjoining acres in Hawkhurst, west Kent and are preserving, restoring, and developing the site into a sustainable, all-inclusive community hub.

The Hands of Hope Get Growing Project:

  • Tackles food poverty whilst reducing food miles and waste.
  • Creates opportunities for active, outdoor, and educational activities for households, schools, and care homes.
  • Supports the ethos that gardening has a measurable impact on mental and physical wellbeing. It reduces the body mass index, as well as instances of depression and anxiety. The social benefits of gardening can also increase life quality and longevity.

About the Fund for the Environment

The Fund for the Environment will embody the ‘think global, act local’ sentiment and facilitate dynamic change by supporting projects which enrich nature, connect people with green spaces and enable more sustainable and healthier ways of living in Kent and Medway.

About Kent Community Foundation

Grant-maker Kent Community Foundation has been finding, funding, and supporting some of the smallest voluntary organisations in the county for twenty years. In this time, it has distributed over £45 million to support thousands of small charities and deserving causes where a modest sum of money can make a significant impact.

They are part of a UK wide accredited network of forty-seven Community Foundations who are committed to improving the lives of local people and communities, particularly the most vulnerable, isolated, and disadvantaged by matching those who want to help, with those who need the help.

Responsible for more than eighty philanthropic funds, Kent Community Foundation is unrivalled in its knowledge of local causes and assists individuals, families, and businesses, who want to help, to establish and administer their own charitable funds.