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Funding from Kent Community Foundation will kick-start the initial phase of a Food Forest and Eco-Centre at Dartford Science and Technology College.

The Healthy Living Centre Dartford food forest and eco-centre project at Dartford Science and Technology College will support health and well-being, achieve multiple educational outcomes, and enhance biodiversity, for the local community. Located within the school grounds, the project stands to benefit hundreds of students, as well as improving physical and mental health and wellbeing within the wider Dartford community.

The benefits will include the proven mental health support that growing plants and being active outside with other people provides, but also learning about where food comes from, how to grow and cook healthy food and having access to nutritious fruit and vegetables.

Nikolas Pierlejewski, Growing Community Project Officer, The Healthy Living Centre Dartford, said, “Our project is designed to help address some of the most pressing issues of our time, including dependence on unsustainable food systems, biodiversity loss and increasing mental health concerns. This initiative will not only make a positive impact on the students of the Dartford Science and Technology College, but also on pupils from feeder primary schools and the wider community. This is only the first step and ultimately, we want to open sites across Dartford, using communal food growing to improve health and wellbeing, social connections, skills, and knowledge and, potentially, small business creation.”

Josephine McCartney, Chief Executive, Kent Community Foundation, said. “This is one of the first projects to be awarded a grant from our Fund for the Environment. The £4,050 grant will be used towards the first phase of the communal food forest and eco-centre project by funding a promotional film, a marquee to use as a volunteer hub, materials to construct a temporary composting toilet, and the hire of a digger to prepare the ground to plant sixteen trees and thirty shrubs. Once completed, the project will benefit not only the students by enriching their curriculum but also help the community to understand more about locally grown sustainable food and fits perfectly with the ethos of Kent Community Foundation’s Environmental Strategy.

Find out more about our Environmental Strategy and the type of projects we support here.

MASSIVE 'thank you ' to everyone at Kent Community Foundation. Your funding support is HUGELY appreciated and has enabled us to get into the heart of local communities with REAL, affordable, healthy and tasty food that does so much more than feed people.

Community chef Mike Spackman, Sheppey Matters

KCF's enthusiasm for what we are doing and hoping to do, coupled with helpful advice, gave us the confidence to take this daunting step which has paid off.

Liz Turner, Octopus Foundation

It's great having a foundation that empowers organisations and charities in our community to make real positive differences and changes!

Tom, MMK Mind
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