Soil Sisters

 

Soil Sisters is an exciting 3-year project run by WEN that supports recovery and development of vulnerable women in traumatic transitions within women’s refuge settings.

We have seen from our own work, engaging disadvantaged women in community food growing projects, that socially isolated women in particular have a great deal to gain from this type of intervention. As such, this project is the first of its kind in the UK to establish a network of groups and organisations interested in developing social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) or green care.

We are based across multiple sites in London, and work with our partners Ashiana Network and Hestia, to achieve the following:

  • Deliver a year round programme of weekly sessions across 5 women’s refuges in East London to build and maintain green spaces;

  • To run a conference that disseminates learning and promotes the use of nature based health and wellbeing interventions;

  • To publish research that specifically focuses on the importance of STH for women in crisis housing and refuges, a research matter that is currently scarce and not fully inclusive of women and ethnic minorities.

WEN has a long-standing history of combining nature and wellbeing, and has several enthusiastic and well-trained staff and volunteers that are passionate about the continued success of this programme.

 

Soil Sisters team

BETH SUMMERS Co-director   Beth is a project manager with a love of nature and a passion for positive mental health. She has lived, worked and studied in East London since 2005, after spending years working in East Africa.

BETH SUMMERS
Co-director

Beth is a project manager with a love of nature and a passion for positive mental health. She has lived, worked and studied in East London since 2005, after spending years working in East Africa.

BERNADETTE KENNEDY   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener and Engagement Lead at St Leonard’s Priory    Bernadett has worked for many years in the areas of mental health, drug and alcohol issues, and homelessness. She later pursued her passion for gardening, and combined it with her therapeutic skills. In recent years Bernadette’s work has been about reclaiming and transforming small spaces into community gardens. She is also a mum to an amazing daughter, who inspires her each and every day!

BERNADETTE KENNEDY
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener and Engagement Lead at St Leonard’s Priory

Bernadett has worked for many years in the areas of mental health, drug and alcohol issues, and homelessness. She later pursued her passion for gardening, and combined it with her therapeutic skills. In recent years Bernadette’s work has been about reclaiming and transforming small spaces into community gardens. She is also a mum to an amazing daughter, who inspires her each and every day!

SHAIRA BEGUM   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener   Shaira has over 6 years of experience of working in environmental education, schools and community development projects. Having worked in city farms, nature reserves and community gardens across London, Shaira enjoys sharing first hand nature discoveries with communities. Having lived in East London all her life she is keen to support communities in urban areas to take ownership of their local green spaces, and support them in becoming change makers.

SHAIRA BEGUM
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

Shaira has over 6 years of experience of working in environmental education, schools and community development projects. Having worked in city farms, nature reserves and community gardens across London, Shaira enjoys sharing first hand nature discoveries with communities. Having lived in East London all her life she is keen to support communities in urban areas to take ownership of their local green spaces, and support them in becoming change makers.

MARIA PAPOUI   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener   Maria has been working at the Thrive Battersea Park project as a Horticultural Therapist for 5 years. Prior to this, Maria worked on many community greening projects across North London and co-founded the social enterprise The Green Firm CIC.

MARIA PAPOUI
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

Maria has been working at the Thrive Battersea Park project as a Horticultural Therapist for 5 years. Prior to this, Maria worked on many community greening projects across North London and co-founded the social enterprise The Green Firm CIC.

Hannah Leigh-Mackie   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

Hannah Leigh-Mackie
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

SHAHEDA AZIZ   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener   Shaheda trained as a Gardener working at a busy city farm, specialising in growing Bangladeshi vegetables. She is most happy where there is an equilibrium between nature and humans. She also qualified as an Early Years Teacher and has worked in many Tower Hamlets schools in various capacities, though her teaching of living and eating well has always been at the heart of what she does. Shaheda is an untamed advocate, for women's rights, gender inequalities as well as the redress of race relation issues in Environmental sectors.

SHAHEDA AZIZ
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

Shaheda trained as a Gardener working at a busy city farm, specialising in growing Bangladeshi vegetables. She is most happy where there is an equilibrium between nature and humans. She also qualified as an Early Years Teacher and has worked in many Tower Hamlets schools in various capacities, though her teaching of living and eating well has always been at the heart of what she does. Shaheda is an untamed advocate, for women's rights, gender inequalities as well as the redress of race relation issues in Environmental sectors.

KLAUDIJA ALASAUSKAITE    Soil Sisters Volunteer   Klaudija works at the urban tree planting charity Trees for Cities as their London Development Manager. She's passionate about enriching nature in cities and loves cycling, gardening and camping. Klaudija has studied and worked in London since 2008.

KLAUDIJA ALASAUSKAITE
Soil Sisters Volunteer

Klaudija works at the urban tree planting charity Trees for Cities as their London Development Manager. She's passionate about enriching nature in cities and loves cycling, gardening and camping. Klaudija has studied and worked in London since 2008.

SIMONE DUE RASMUSSEN   Soil Sisters Volunteer   Simone is currently studying a Masters in Gender, Sexuality & Society. She is passionate about environment, gender and sexuality on a personal and political level, and enjoys trekking. Along with volunteering, Simone is working together with the Soil Sisters programme in relation to her studies.

SIMONE DUE RASMUSSEN
Soil Sisters Volunteer

Simone is currently studying a Masters in Gender, Sexuality & Society. She is passionate about environment, gender and sexuality on a personal and political level, and enjoys trekking. Along with volunteering, Simone is working together with the Soil Sisters programme in relation to her studies.

ANNA PETERS    Soil Sisters Volunteer

ANNA PETERS
Soil Sisters Volunteer

ALEXIA SHAKOS    Soil Sisters Volunteer

ALEXIA SHAKOS
Soil Sisters Volunteer

SIHAM BORTCOSH    Soil Sisters Volunteer

SIHAM BORTCOSH
Soil Sisters Volunteer

JALA HAIDAR   Soil Sisters Volunteer

JALA HAIDAR
Soil Sisters Volunteer

RU CHULKOVA    Soil Sisters Volunteer

RU CHULKOVA
Soil Sisters Volunteer

JULIE YIP   Soil Sisters Volunteer

JULIE YIP
Soil Sisters Volunteer

MERLIN STRANGEWAY   Illustrator   Merlin is an award-winning freelance Illustrator & Educator. She believes pictures have the power to make thinking, working and communicating easier for everyone. She is passionate about using her skills to support and empower others, via collaborations that visualise untold narratives and snatched moments. Merlin strives to makes art universally accessible, educational and engaging. Her work is inspired by the colours, lines and forms found in nature. She has been live drawing multiple Soil Sisters’ gardens over the months, trying to capture the flora, fauna, produce and participant relationships as they have grown across the seasons.   www.drawntomedicine.com

MERLIN STRANGEWAY
Illustrator

Merlin is an award-winning freelance Illustrator & Educator. She believes pictures have the power to make thinking, working and communicating easier for everyone. She is passionate about using her skills to support and empower others, via collaborations that visualise untold narratives and snatched moments. Merlin strives to makes art universally accessible, educational and engaging. Her work is inspired by the colours, lines and forms found in nature. She has been live drawing multiple Soil Sisters’ gardens over the months, trying to capture the flora, fauna, produce and participant relationships as they have grown across the seasons.

www.drawntomedicine.com

 
 

SOIL SISTERS BLOG


Get Involved

If you would like to get involved with the Soil Sisters Project please contact us at soilsisters@wen.org.uk or call 020 7481 9004

We are not looking for volunteers for the Soil Sisters project. If you have a skill set to share with the project such as crafts, workshops and skill share we would like to hear from you. Please contact us for possible workshop collaborations.

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