Community Event at Culpeper Community Garden in IslingtonCommunity

Culpeper Community Garden

Eden in Islington: local community gardening in the city project brings great benefits to residents, vulnerable people and schools

Islington’s award-winning Culpeper Community Garden works closely with local organisations who support vulnerable people. Many schools come here to learn about nature. There is a wealth of activities and workshops for adults and thousands of members of the public also visit this haven every year.

The RHS has warmly praised Culpeper, a registered charity, in their London in Bloom competition. “Culpeper is an outstanding example of community gardening in the city… It’s social and therapeutic horticultural at its best.”

Margaret Pitt, a long-standing member and Trustee, says: “The money from the Axis Foundation, £2,000, will be used for environmental education and gardening sessions with groups and local schools. I am so happy that the Foundation’s grant can further support our projects at Culpeper.”
Margaret continues: “Culpeper’s a wonderful green community centre in the heart of London where people from every background, advantage and disadvantage can relax and work together in a beautiful green space. I call it a ‘little garden of Eden’. The garden has been a source of pleasure and inspiration to me for over 30 years.”

More about Culpeper

Culpeper Community Garden is close to several large housing estates in Islington and is run by locals on organic and sustainable principles.

It is one of London’s oldest city parks / community gardening in the city projects and land here comprises 46 plots for local residents and groups, communal areas (including a pond, wildlife area, lawn and rose pergola), a community building and a tea hut for members.

Community Gardening in the city

Supporting vulnerable people at Culpeper

Culpeper supports the Elfrida Society, the Stuart Low Trust, Room to Heal and Islington Mind. These local organisations help vulnerable people including those with learning difficulties and mental health issues as well as isolated people and asylum seekers. Each organisation has a weekly session at Culpeper and a plot of their own to cultivate.

“This garden is like paradise for us. When I came here, I was very depressed and without hope. It was winter and now for me it’s spring,” – Garden Volunteer

Members of the Choir With No Name sing togetherCommunity

Choir With No Name

Help for community choir who help bring together the homeless and socially marginalised through the power of song.

The Choir with No Name (CWNN) is a community choir for people affected by homelessness and marginalisation. CWNN’s vision is that all people have a place they belong. A place where anyone can come and sing their hearts out. Their mission is to enable as many homeless and marginalised people as possible to beat loneliness and build their confidence and skills through singing. Communal singing is proven to be hugely beneficial for both physical and mental health. They were delighted to receive a sum of £5,000 from the Axis Foundation.

“We are thrilled to have the support of Axis Foundation. Our London choir is a positive and non-judgmental space where the most isolated members of the community can build up a network of support, grow in confidence, sing away their worries and get themselves back on their feet.”

“The Axis Foundation’s generosity means that we will be able to continue to run rehearsals in central London all year round, reaching more people affected by homelessness in the city and introducing them to the multiple benefits of singing together.”

“We are extremely grateful, thank you! – Rachel Clare, Fundraising and Communications Manager, The Choir with No Name.

The Axis Foundation’s £5,000 grant will support the music delivery costs of the London choir, including the Choir Director and rehearsal venue hire fees. Support for these costs in 2018/19 will enable them to offer community choir rehearsals 48 weeks of the year, create 12 gig opportunities for members at inspirational venues across the capital and host 12 outreach singing workshops for people at risk of homelessness and marginalised community members.  The community choir project aims to engage with 230 individuals through their rehearsals and outreach programme throughout the year.

The Choir with No Name London is based in the borough of Camden but is open to all boroughs in London. They also run choirs in Birmingham and Liverpool, and launched a brand new choir in Brighton in August 2018. In 2017/18 they worked with 764 marginalised adults across all choirs (278 via rehearsals and 486 via outreach singing workshops). CWNN rehearsals are followed by a hot meal and then the opportunity to socialise. Volunteers do the cooking and provide pastoral care and practical support too.


Outdoor and indoor produce growing at OrganicleaCommunity


Axis grant enables community food project to provide access and support to people with disabilities.

For those with physical disabilities who attend Organiclea in Chingford, gardening is an invaluable physical intervention, developing strength, co-ordination, balance and motor skills. An Organiclea ‘Buddy’ offers support and companionship, helping them to engage in a range of gardening and food growing activities.

The Axis Foundation’s donation of £1,000 will increase the community food project’s work for those with disabilities – for example by improving wheelchair access and providing raised beds as accessible outdoor growing areas.

An important community resource, situated in the 12-acre site of Hawkwood Plant Nursery, the community food project welcomes people from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and abilities.

Organiclea currently works with 16 students with special educational needs and regularly works with around 10-15 others with a physical difficulty or disability.

Volunteers here benefit from their accredited training offering and Organiclea also works with schools and colleges – including SEN and PRU – housing estates and care homes on projects to do with food growing and the environment.

“We were so happy to receive funding from the Axis Foundation, allowing us to improve our facilities for those with special needs, particularly wheelchair users, making gardening more accessible for everyone. I have plans to involve our special needs students in the construction of the raised beds the Axis Foundation have funded, that the same group will then use to grow vegetables, salads and flowers in. Thanks Axis Foundation for helping us with our work!” – Joe Wensley SEN Young People’s Co-ordinator.

Gardening tools at Bright Star Welllbeing to promote good mental healthCommunity

Bright Star Wellbeing

Our donation helps promote good mental health and social inclusion.

Bright Star Wellbeing is a charity which helps people with mental illness and also raises public awareness of mental health issues.

The volunteers here work with local people who may feel isolated due to disability, race, ethnicity or mental health.

By offering recreational therapeutic activities, the charity aims to help them to mix within society and their local community – and so promote good mental health and wellbeing as well as bring about an end to their loneliness and isolation.

Our donation of £1,000 made in 2017 purchased gardening equipment and plants. The clients at Bright Star Wellbeing had expressed a desire to form a gardening group and so be able to plant flowers in memory of one of their members who had recently died.

In response to this request, Sandie Ryan, Axis Foundation Trustee, said: “We are pleased to support a charity which works to help the local community and promote good mental health and wellbeing.”

Christine Pearce, CEO, Bright Star Wellbeing said: “We are so thankful to have received this donation as it means that the clients will be able to run their own therapeutic gardening group and honour the memory of their friend. This will assist us greatly in maintaining our groups and enabling us to support assist and empower those in need within the local community – to include all and exclude none.”

Smiling residents of Bentilee VolunteersCommunity

Bentilee Volunteers

Axis Foundation funds social club for adults with learning disabilities

Bentilee Volunteers is a charity that provides social activities and volunteering to children, the elderly and disadvantaged people within the local community.

£2,500 from the Axis Foundation will go towards the Rainbow Club (a social club for adults with learning disabilities) which provides a safe social haven for members to make new friends and take part in creative and interactive activities. For instance, they deliver sessions in drama, music, crafts and dancing, as well as parties and games. In addition, their theatre trips and excursions take members to exciting and stimulating places, proving to be very popular.

They consult with the residents of Bentilee, encouraging them to identify and address the needs of their local area. As a result, they have set up a range of initiatives, helping to raise the quality of life for vulnerable people within the community.

Other Projects include

• The Furniture Shed and Charity Shop (donations and re-sales)
• Youthlink (a club for young people between the ages of 11 and 19)
• Senior Clubs (luncheon clubs with transport, activities and outings for older members of the community)
• The Community IT Suite (offering computer training and assistance into employment, training and volunteering opportunities).

“Bentilee Volunteers were thrilled to receive a donation from the Axis Foundation. The funding will help our Rainbow Project to continue and grow, supporting the good work of our committed staff and volunteers. Above all, it will ensure that this much needed club remains available to local vulnerable people.” Gill McGovern, Funding Development Worker

Group of gardeners at HeadwayCommunity


Helping people with brain injuries through therapeutic rehabilitation in gardening haven.

The Axis Foundation has donated £350 to Headway SELNWK, a charity renowned for helping people with brain injuries in Bexley, Lewisham, Greenwich, Lambeth, Bromley, Southwark, Dartford, Gravesend and Medway.

Headway’s work includes helping people with brain injuries to return to community living via social groups, creative projects and rehabilitation programmes.

Gardening is known to be therapeutic. The gardening group at Abbeywood Day Centre comprises eight members. All of them helped compile the shopping list of goodies – polytunnel, seeds, compost and garden tools – our donation purchased. They will be embarking on growing their own fruit and vegetables and also creating an outdoor space to show to visitors.

Because an injury to the brain can leave survivors and their carers feeling isolated and alone, Headway has made it their mission to alleviate this sense of isolation and provide a sense of calm and relaxation into a traumatic situation.

“Being out in the fresh air and gardening helps people to get more energised and the members are all very keen to show people around. It’s been a lovely contribution; it’s just made everything easier so having that contribution is very much appreciated. Your money is going a long way to Headway’s work helping people with brain injuries” – Andy Hirons, Headway Fundraising and Development Co-ordinator

Child having a horse riding lesson at Vauxhall City farm.Community

Vauxhall City Farm

City-based horse riding therapy centre are able to help more disabled and disadvantaged children local to Vauxhall.

Vauxhall City Farm started out in 1977 with local people working voluntarily to transform derelict land into an oasis of country life in the heart of London. As part of the farms offering they have a Horse Riding Therapy Centre which has been helping the Vauxhall community since opening in 2002.

The project targets disabled and disadvantaged children in inner-city areas where they would not normally have the opportunity to horse ride. In one year the centre provided 1,283 riding lessons to young people and 1,878 riding for the disabled lessons to eight local school groups, stating it’s popularity and demand in the community.

The Foundation has been supporting Vauxhall City Farm, which runs as a registered charity, for seven years as well as Axis people actively volunteering at the farm. A total of £25,000 has been donated to the charity through 5 separate donations since our first donation in 2006.
Feedback has shown that the horse riding therapy project offers a substantial amount of beneficial factors that include increased confidence, relationship building and achieving individual goals and can also act as a form of physiotherapy.

Riding Centre Manager, Linda Hinds said: “Vauxhall City Farm Riding Therapy Centre has had a very successful year since receipt of payment of the grant from the Axis Foundation. We aim to continue to provide the current number of lessons to disabled and disadvantaged children and sustain the much-valued work for the benefit of local young people. We cannot thank you enough.”

Children see Santa at West Durrington Phoenix GroupCommunity

West Durrington Phoenix Group

Durrington parents and children experience a magical Christmas together through Christmas donation.

Based in Durrington, Worthing, the Phoenix Group is a support hub for the local community. Across a number of years, the local support group has opened its doors to a number of different groups to further support the community.

The Axis Foundation has made a Christmas donation of £5,000 to the group to fund their annual Christmas lunch. 194 children were present at the event and 29 adults came to support some of them. The group supports children who come from families experiencing financial and emotional strain. All of the children were identified through local schools, housing associations and family centres. Before we awarded the donation, the group were organising the party on limited funds which meant there would be no disco, face painter and no entertainer for the children to enjoy. This donation allowed them to provide a party that was much more fun and included special presents for every child.

The children were treated to a delicious Christmas Dinner and enjoyed entertainment from a magician and a balloon artist. In addition, the Axis Foundation’s donation provided a photo booth, where children (and adults) dressed in silly costumes and captured special memories.

“I was over the moon when I was told we were going to be given the money, you can’t imagine the difference it has made. My objective for this party was to make lasting positive memories for our family and this money has allows us to do that. Thank you,” Linda Lewis, Group Representative.

Man holding donation cheque for Singing groupCommunity

Advocacy in Greenwich

Axis Foundation funds music therapy for adults with learning disabilities.

Advocacy in Greenwich is a support group for people with learning disabilities in the London Borough of Greenwich. Their Sing & Smile Group enables adults with learning disabilities to share their love of music with each other in a friendly and inclusive environment. During their weekly sessions, overseen by a support worker, members choose songs to perform together. Sometimes, people perform solos when they are feeling brave enough.

The Axis Foundation donated £900 to the Sing & Smile Group, helping to cover their running costs.

Sing & Smile was set up by Advocacy in Greenwich in 2014 in response to a nearby community music group shutting down. It is important to its members because it provides with them with a creative outlet, a way of making friends and it feeds their love of singing and performing.

“Thank you very much for the £900 you sent us for our singing group. We are very pleased you chose to give us some money and we are over the moon that the group can carry on. We really enjoy getting together each week and singing makes us feel happy.” Ian Harvey, member of Sing & Smile

Advocacy in Greenwich’s wider mission as a charity is to encourage people with learning disabilities to be heard and included within the community. As a result, they offer far more than just music therapy for adults with learning disabilities. They also provide youth workshops, Training & Consultancy, BME projects and support for parents with a learning disability.

Homeless man being served food in The Passage homeless kitchen.Community

The Passage

A day-care centre that offers help for the homeless are able to improve their facilities and services through donation.

The Passage is a day-care centre that operates for the homeless, providing food and shelter, as well as two hostels for vulnerable rough sleepers at night. The centre is used by up to 200 people a day for both men and women, offering basic care, advice, health care re- homing help, education, training and hostel accommodation.

Westminster has the highest concentration of homeless rough sleepers in the country. There is a pressing need to both provide care for them with basic services and to support them to rebuild their lives. The Passage strives to achieve this by helping them access benefits they may be entitled to and by offering educational support so that they can find accommodation and maybe a way of income.

The Axis Foundation has aided The Passage in continuing their support for people in the Westminster area by donating £5,000. This donation will look to furnish the bedrooms in their main hostel and help fund new bedding, towels, table lamps, clock radios and cleaning kits so residents have a clean atmosphere and a pleasant feel to the place.

Over the years a number of Axis people have used their 1 volunteering day a year to volunteer at the passage to help out the homeless in the areas we work.  We have also donated painting equipment with staff volunteering their time to refurbish rooms and several corridors at the Passage Homeless Shelter.

In one year it took £3.9m to run their 48 bed shelter, the day centre and provide support including; mental health care, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, shelter for older homeless people, education and training for employment.
Axis recognised the importance of the Passage’s work and shares the centre’s ethos of providing a hand up rather than a hand out, something Axis employs within the social housing communities in which they work.