Food-growing clubs in London supply school kitchen with fresh produce


A community food-growing charity that offers after-school classes to pupils at Surrey Square School is continuing to donate its fresh produce to the school kitchen with a little help from Tesco.

The Southwark-based charity, Edible Rotherhithe, has been awarded £1,000 in funding by Tesco as part of a scheme to support young people across the UK.

Despite the new restrictions, the charity has been able to continue growing, maintaining and harvesting fresh fruit and vegetables in the school’s polytunnel. The food is then used in the School kitchen to make healthy, nutritious lunches.

Charities and community groups who work with young people were able to apply for support from the Tesco Bags of Help Community Grant scheme in association with community charity Groundwork, and Edible Rotherhithe in Southwark was one of the successful applicants.

Edible Rotherhithe is a community food-growing, gardening and arts charity that works between schools, educational facilities and community centres offering food growing, gardening and arts and crafts workshops for children and parents.

Christina Wheatley, Trustee and Project Manager at Edible Rotherhithe said:

“Like many local charities and community groups, Covid-19 has restricted Edible Rotherhithe’s ability to operate as we normally would – so it’s fantastic that we can keep supplying the school with fresh produce. We can’t wait to start up our after-school activities again once restrictions have been lifted.

“The after-school classes we normally offer at Surrey Square have received nothing but positive feedback from both the parents and the pupils.

“Introducing children to the idea of nurturing and harvesting their own food has opened up a new world to them, and has taught them the benefit of healthy, freshly grown produce.

“We’ve had parents tell us that their children are suddenly taking an interest in cooking, which has given them a new shared activity, bringing them even closer as a family!

“The donation from Tesco will help us continue the after-school classes after lockdown which provide an invaluable service to the pupils at Surrey Square, and for that, we’re hugely grateful.”

As part of the special round of community funding for youth charities, three grants of £1,000 have been made available in Southwark. In total, 1,995 groups were awarded grants of £1,965,500 by Tesco throughout the UK in 2020.

Keith Jackson, Bags of Help Manager at Tesco, said: “Young people have been among the most affected by the pandemic this year, be it due to school disruption or vital services stopping.

“We’re therefore very pleased to see so many charities and community groups coming forward for support, all of whom carry out vital work for young people in the UK, and delighted to be able to provide much-needed funding for many of them, including Edible Rotherhithe.”

One of the other groups in Southwark to be awarded a grant is Community Cycleworks, a charity that runs build-a-bike courses, bike fix sessions and on road and mountain biking ride outs for young people in the area.

Alex Forrester Corporate Partnership Manager from Groundwork commented: “We have seen a wide variety of groups come forward for funding, including outdoor activities, mental health charities, young carers, bereavement counselling, and charities working with vulnerable children.

“We see day to day the incredible work these groups do, but also how much they need funding to operate, which is often hard to come by, so it is fantastic to work with Tesco to be able to give a little help to some of them.”

To donate to Edible Rotherhithe visit: