An allotment in the grounds of Marble Hill in Twickenham has been restored to its former glory thanks in part to a grant from Tesco to help build the community market garden.

Set in 66 acres, Marble Hill which is in the care of English Heritage, is now home to an allotment which provides fruit, vegetables and a space for the local community.

The grant of £10,000 was one of the first to be awarded through the Tesco Community Grant Scheme which celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and was given to the charity now called Habitats & Heritage, who care for the natural and historic environment in south and west London.

The Kitchen Garden was developed to celebrate the history of market gardens in Middlesex and inspire local people to grow their own food. Amongst the many supporters was the Tesco Community Grant Scheme, whose grant paid for the fruit cage protecting the heritage trees and bushes and the garden now provides produce for the new Coach House Café at the site.

Marble Hill House was built in the 18th century as a home for Henrietta Howard, while known to many as the mistress of King George II when he was Prince of Wales, Henrietta was a remarkable woman in her own right, regularly in correspondence with literary luminaries of her time such as Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope and John Gay. Marble Hill became a centre for Henrietta’s influential cultural, intellectual and political circle where she entertained friends on a scale which was said to rival the royal court.

Marble Hill not only embodies her legacy as a patron of architecture and landscape gardening, but also stands as testament to a woman who fought hard for her independence and security.

Rachel Morrison, Audience Development Manager at English Heritage said:

“We’ve had a very busy few years and the Tesco grant and support from Habitats and Heritage has really allowed us to grow in more ways than one! Not only are we now able to grow a huge range of fruit, vegetables and herbs (that are served in our café) but we are also able to use the garden as an incredible space for families, storytelling workshops, charities and disability organisations. It has helped the local community and is a part of the major regeneration of the Marble Hill Project that seeks to restore the kitchen garden and the landscape and house to their former glory.

“We’re hugely grateful to Tesco and we hope we can continue growing and supporting the local community.”

The Kitchen Garden forms part of a wider project by English Heritage at Marble Hill with the support of volunteers and the award of a grant of over £5m by National Lottery. With £7m of improvements in total, Marble Hill House is due to open to visitors in 2022.

Over the last five years, 2,523 groups across London have had reason to celebrate after receiving grants from the Tesco Community Grant Scheme, which is celebrating its birthday this year. In Twickenham alone, 61 groups received grants worth over £141,000 from the scheme.

Since the launch of scheme, which is run in partnership with community charity Groundwork, £86million in total has been donated to 37,000 projects across the UK.

Keith Jackson, Communications Manager at Tesco, said: “Over the last five years, we’ve been delighted to have been able to support so many charities, community groups and organisations from every corner of the UK.

“It was great to hear about how the Environment Trust and English Heritage has spent their grant, and we hope it encourages others to apply for support too.”

Graham Duxbury, CEO of Groundwork, said: “Working with Tesco has enabled us to make sure that much-needed funding reaches local groups who really need it.

“Together, over the last 12 months alone, we’ve been able to help a multitude of local organisations supporting our local communities through the pandemic, and we’re excited to see what the next five years, and beyond, will bring.”

The successful initiative, formerly known as the Bags of Help Scheme, relaunched in April as the Tesco Community Grant Scheme, and charities, community groups and not for profit organisations can still apply for a grant through Tesco’s charity partner Groundwork.

For more information, or to apply for a grant, interested groups can visit tesco.com/communitygrants.