On Tuesday the 27th of June, a tour of Energy Garden and Banister House Solar started at Brondesbury Park Overground station in North London. Colin Baines of Friends Provident Foundation created the event in conjunction with Community energy fortnight so that UK Social Impact Investment Groups could see community projects that are delivering social, environmental and financial returns in urban communities.
The day started with Brondesbury Park Energy Gardeners Flo and Patti preparing some cucumbers and chillies to be planted and watered by participants. Brondesbury Park was the first of what is now 22 and will be 40 community gardens across Overground station platforms.
Hopping on and off Energy Garden station platforms, Agamemnon Otero, CEO of Repowering, shared how Energy Gardens support Biodiversity, Air Quality, and Community Wellbeing. Energy Gardens involve schools, work with established community groups, and provide paid AQA accredited training programmes to London youth.
Otero shared how important it was to support groups with finance, technical, legal and social frameworks so they could successfully navigate the landscape between local authorities and national owned assets like TFL and network rail. The 14 stage development process of Energy Garden and 9 stage process for social housing projects allowed members to state their concerns and help them deliver their ideas.
Otero shared the journey from the inception of Energy Garden and Banister House Solar to building, working with community groups, raising money, assessing the value of financial and social return to members and grantees. Residents, gardening enthusiast members, chefs and elder care workers were introduced as well.
With a social return on investment, Energy Garden is relevant to a multitude of charitable objectives, including encouraging social impact investing, grant making to the sector, climate change and other environmental benefits. These include the local, social, community and economic benefits, and the opportunity for impact investing with a reasonable return on investment. Click here to register your interest investing.