Chiswick House & Gardens awarded grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

We have been awarded a £163k grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund to support the development of our capital project to grow our thriving community and schools programme.

As well as caring for the 65-acre Grade-I listed Gardens and the 300-year-old Grade-I listed historic House, Chiswick House & Gardens Trust also delivers an expanding programme of activities for underrepresented and underserved communities and schools through community engagement, volunteering, learning and public programmes.

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House & Gardens Trust, said:

Chiswick House & Gardens offers so much more than a heritage or park experience. Through our community and schools programme we are responding to the challenges faced by society: isolation, loneliness, unemployment, poverty and a disconnect from nature are clear and growing needs for members of our diverse Hounslow community. We are fortunate to have the assets that can make a real difference in the lives of local people.

Now in its third year, our Growing Together at Chiswick House community engagement programme has successfully created a collaborative and inclusive offer that works closely with Hounslow groups and strengthens local partnerships through co-developed activities. In 2022, we worked with 52 community groups to support nature-based learning and wellbeing for over 2,000 local people, thanks to a grant from the Linbury Trust.

A measure of its success, demand for our thriving community and learning programmes now exceeds what can be currently offered. The Trust urgently requires additional spaces, staffing and facilities in order to respond to the needs of diverse community groups, young people and schools to provide hands-on outdoor learning around food and horticulture, growing, biodiversity, climate adaptation, creativity and making.

Announced in May 2022, a proposed capital project aims to develop the Trust’s under- and un-used assets to better meet the needs of the Hounslow community: improving accessibility, providing safe and sheltered outdoor spaces and enabling out-of-hours use of the learning centre and community garden. Subject to planning permission and funding, we aim to begin this work in 2024, to include:

  • A multi-purpose learning centre and garden for community and schools activities.
  • New facilities for volunteers.
  • A Creative Campus for local artists, makers and artisans.

Xanthe Arvanitakis, Director of Chiswick House & Gardens Trust said:

Our community programme has significant potential to expand and make more creative use of our green and historic spaces. Thanks to this grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, we are now able to pilot and test activity in new spaces, bringing us one step closer to delivering this programme that will benefit so many people in our local community.

The Trust’s sustainability relies on relevance to the community’s needs and also a diverse portfolio of income sources, and these spaces have the potential to support both.

The £163k Heritage Fund grant will enable us to pilot and expand its community, volunteering and schools programmes, in preparation for the new community and learning facilities in development. The funding will be used to:

  • Work with expert partners, Hackney School of Food and Let’s Go Outside and Learn, to test and pilot a new learning programme for local children. Responding to real demand from Hounslow schools, the programme aims to give students practical food education. It will provide the opportunity to explore where food comes from, how it is grown, identify edible plants through the seasons and experience tasting plants with simple and practical cooking activities and demonstrations. The funding also enables the Trust to test and pilot learning materials for schools who want to visit under their own steam and get the best out of their self-led visit.
  • Test different ways to make volunteering with Chiswick House & Gardens Trust more accessible to all. Expanding on what is working well now and making improvements to offer a broader range of opportunities.
  • Complete architectural designs, including the proposed new volunteer facilities and Fruit Garden in preparation for the planning phase.
  • Repair an existing glasshouse to provide an indoor growing space and expand community and volunteer activities all year round.
Image: ‘Meet me at the Gates’ project with Cavendish School by Harvinder Kaur Bahra

Stuart McLeod, Director of England – London & South at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

The success of the community and schools programme to date shows there’s a huge opportunity to expand this to benefit the community and the natural heritage of Chiswick Gardens. At the Heritage Fund, we believe that projects like this are invaluable to connect people to the green spaces that are on their doorstep. Not only does it help nature thrive, but it also increases people’s health and wellbeing, making our communities better places to live.

In addition to this grant frpm The National Lottery Heritage Fund, this project is also supported by the Linbury Trust, the Architectural Heritage Fund, the London Borough of Hounslow Thriving Communities Capital Fund.

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