The Calthorpe inner city community garden and centre exists to improve the physical and emotional well-being of those who live, work or study in Camden and surrounding areas
Core Organisational Objectives
We achieve our mission through three core objectives and all our activities and services are designed to support these goals.
- Managing sustainable green space and community facilities – providing a better local environment for all
- Developing people and their skills – delivering services that improve the life chances of local residents
- Creating better social conditions – provide opportunities for people to meet and take care of each other and the environment
- A horticultural volunteering and training programme for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.
- Sustainable food growing incorporating a closed loop food cycle, vegetarian cafe and waste recycling facility.
- Supervised activities for children aged 0-14 and their families.
- Sports development including coaching and training for young people.
- Community classes and activities with partner organisations the Mary Ward Centre and Explorer Scouts.
People from all cultural and diverse backgrounds participate and enrich our activities. Our volunteer and training programme helps people learn new skills, provides opportunity for social interaction and outdoor exercise. Environmental and food growing sessions encourage and develop awareness of organic methods and composting. Bangladeshi women, older people and families have their own mini allotments encouraging community integration. Our 5-a-side futsal pitch provides programmes to improve health and well-being for young people as well as generating vital revenue from hiring. We provide respite from over crowded housing in our Early Years drop in and weekend play provision for children.
For health and safety reasons, only guide dogs for the disabled are allowed into the garden.
From the beginning of the nineteenth century the site of the Calthorpe Project community garden had predominantly been leased to Thomas Cubitt, an eminent builder responsible for a substantial part of the construction in London.
During the 1960’s the land was purchased by the Lyon Group who had planning permission for a 70,000 square foot office development. However they went bankrupt just after they had put the office foundations on site, so Camden acquired the land. In 1980 they prepared to sell the land for offices, based on the previous outdated planning permission.
Local residents were concerned about the impact on their lives of such a large development on their doorstep and there followed a local campaign which included petitions, lobbying councilors and sending a delegation to Camden Council. The communities efforts were rewarded and in June 1983 Camden allocated money to develop the site for gardens, play space and under fives activities for the residents of Kings Cross. In 1984 the Calthorpe Project became a charity and a company limited by guarantee.
Growth and Change: a documentary by Ruth Cebrian
Click on the link to watch a 25 minute video made by the London City Farms & Community Gardens Association https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHGYWixlB80