Breaking Ground

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Breaking Ground

Last year, with support from the Mayor of London and City Bridge Foundation, we launched Breaking Ground: a mentoring programme and grant fund to support community-led projects in the London boroughs of Camden, Ealing, Greenwich, and Newham. These projects brought social and environmental benefits to local neighbourhoods, designed and led by the people who live there.

Why Breaking Ground?

Throughout London, and in many other parts of the UK, people on lower incomes and people of colour are disproportionately affected by issues such as poor air quality, lack of access to green space, overheating and flash flooding. These communities are also often left out of environmental discussions and decision making.

Breaking Ground built on the success of a pilot project, Greener Together which supported a community in east London to use greening activities like growing food, creating new green spaces, and litter picking, to tackle social issues such as lack of community cohesion, anti-social behaviour, and fly-tipping.

The difference we've made

Breaking Ground has demonstrated that bringing neighbours together to transform an underused green space can be a powerful way to build resilience, strengthen communities and create positive change.

  • The projects have reached over 4,450 people so far, leading to increased community cohesion and access to nature.
  • Combined, the four projects ran 50 events with 2,512 attendees.
  • 4456 people engaged with the projects through newsletters, WhatsApp groups and more.
  • Between them, the projects set up two sharing spaces, a new community fridge, three community gardens, a new recycling-centre, and two new community-owned spaces that had previously been unused/inaccessible.

We spoke to the residents in each Breaking Ground location to see how things had changed:

  • Over a third (34.5%) of conversations were focused on greater community cohesion as a result of the projects. This included descriptions of how more people were getting involved in their community, an increase of trust and social connections and a greater sense of pride in their local area and the people who live there.
  • About a quarter (24.5%) of conversations described their community becoming more empowered through the project. This included feeling listened to and local ownership of their project and area.
  • A quarter (25%) of conversations described benefits to residents wellbeing. They identified seeing an increase in learning and education, better facilities for the community, a sense of positivity and personal growth.
  • People also spoke a significant amount (16%) about an increase in long term vision for their community and increased environmental stewardship e.g. sharing resources and protecting green space.

What's next for Breaking Ground?

Following the success of our four projects, we will be pulling our learnings to run a second phase of Breaking Ground. With the support of The National Lottery's Climate Action Fund, we will be supporting a community in Tower Hamlets to bring social and environmental change to their neighbourhood.

We will be using our learning to create a model that can be used to address environmental inequalities and barriers to participation in climate action in other underserved and underrepresented communities across the UK.

Meet the communities Breaking Ground

What you can do?

  • Sign up to our newsletter to hear the latest about our work with communities.
  • Coming soon - We will be launching Grow and Tell, our Breaking Ground podcast, filled with tips and inspiration from the brilliant people involved in Breaking Ground projects in 2023.

Curious to know more about Hubbub? 

At Hubbub, we want to see a world where everyone makes choices that are good for the environment. Check out what we do and the difference we’re making.

Looking for more ways to support your community and the environment?

Check out our Community Fridge Network, which shares and saves surplus food.