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!

KATHERINE JACKSON Soil Sisters Theruputic Gardener   With a background in disability and mental health services Katherine retrained in horticulture and has over ten years experience working in East London community gardens encouraging nature to work its magic improving health and well-being.

KATHERINE JACKSON
Soil Sisters Theruputic Gardener

With a background in disability and mental health services Katherine retrained in horticulture and has over ten years experience working in East London community gardens encouraging nature to work its magic improving health and well-being.

Hannah Leigh-Mackie   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

Hannah Leigh-Mackie
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

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.

NATALIE SZAREK   Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener   Natalie is thrilled to combine her passion for gender justice with her love of growing food and flowers. Following several years working and volunteering in the women's sector, Natalie moved to London and got involved in community gardening. She has worked in the urban food sector for seven years including at Forest Farm Peace Garden, Community Food Growers Network, and founded Audacious Veg CIC in 2015

NATALIE SZAREK
Soil Sisters Therapeutic Gardener

Natalie is thrilled to combine her passion for gender justice with her love of growing food and flowers. Following several years working and volunteering in the women's sector, Natalie moved to London and got involved in community gardening. She has worked in the urban food sector for seven years including at Forest Farm Peace Garden, Community Food Growers Network, and founded Audacious Veg CIC in 2015

KLAUDIJA ALASAUSKAITE    Soil Sisters Garden 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 Garden 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.

SUSANNA EPLING   Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer   Susanna completed her Masters in Public Health, Maternal Child Health and has a passion for mental health and community building. She is an active volunteer with the Soil Sisters therapeutic gardening project.

SUSANNA EPLING
Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

Susanna completed her Masters in Public Health, Maternal Child Health and has a passion for mental health and community building. She is an active volunteer with the Soil Sisters therapeutic gardening project.

ANNA PETERS    Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

ANNA PETERS
Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

CLAIRE BLUNDELL-JONE    Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

CLAIRE BLUNDELL-JONE
Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

SIHAM BORTCOSH    Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

SIHAM BORTCOSH
Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

JALA HAIDAR   Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

JALA HAIDAR
Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

 
JULIE YIP   Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

JULIE YIP
Soil Sisters Garden Volunteer

MERLIN STRANGEWAY   Illustrator

MERLIN STRANGEWAY
Illustrator

 
 

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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