Our Impact

Environmental Impact

Keep Britain Tidy Green Flag Community Award

GreenFlag 2017We are Green Flag Community Award winners 2015/16 – 2022

Green Flag generalPlease read the Field Assessment Comments made by the selection committee, which give a full picture of all aspects of the garden. They include additional comment:

A wonderful project being run by an incredibly dedicated group of volunteers to the benefit of those in the local communities with a range of struggles and difficulties. What a shame the local authority don’t seem to see just how much benefit this facility is bringing on their behalf and, for very little investment on their part, help out in some fundamental ways that would mean so much to the residents of their borough and the volunteers on the projects.

2017 London Assembly Environment Committee report

‘Park Life: ensuring green spaces remain a hit with Londoners’

LA Park Life report 2017We were chosen for a site visit by the Committee and several members visited the garden in January: Section 2.2 uses us as a case example of the benefits of shared community spaces.

Two of the Report’s key findings are:

  • London’s green spaces already provide huge health, environmental and social benefits but we are not using their full potential.
  • Data on London’s green spaces needs to be improved so that investment can be properly targeted.

We were visited again in June by Environment Committee member NE London AM Jennette Arnold OBE, together with local councillor Feryal Demirci. Ms Arnold wrote an inspirational article about her experience. Find it on her website http://jennettearnold.com/2017/06/st-marys-secret-garden-hackney/.

Evaluation Reports from some of our projects

Connect Hackney: The Garden Social for older people with Learning Disabilities 2019/20

The Garden Social was originally funded by the National Lottery as part of the Aging Well Strategy which was called Connect Hackney locally. We were proud to be involved in reducing isolation and loneliness some of the most marginalised older people in our community. Evaluations and lessons learning lessons were a vital part of this programme. Connect-Hackney-Learning-Disabilities-Key-Messages


Team London Older People’s Project 2017 – 2018 Evaluation Report

Team London aims to encourage older people to take part in opportunities that can utilise
their skills to benefit their community and also support older and vulnerable people to
access supported volunteering opportunities. We were successful with our bid to provide weekly community gardening sessions for older adults in Hackney to support and develop the local environmental activities we undertake; the majority of these ‘budding’ gardening volunteers had learning disabilities.

Some comments froom participants: ‘I get a sense of purpose doing something productive and worthwhile, gives me something to smile about,’ ‘Helping to make tea for people makes me feel good, like to be helpful – helps me feel part of the family’.

Happy daffodilsThis picture of spring daffodils was the most commonly chosen to illustrate the value placed in the project by participants :

  • Nature and being outdoors
    • Feeling hopeful and looking forward
    • Fresh new life

To add to the monitoring undertaken by Team London, we commissioned an evaluation from an external Health and Wellbeing Consultant. Download a copy (PDF format 914kb) here.

Changing Minds: Mental Well-being Impact Executive Summary


This summary report presents the findings from a Mental Well-being Impact Assessment (MWIA) that was undertaken on the Changing Minds project delivered by St Mary’s Secret Garden, Hackney.

The Changing Minds project was funded by a grant from Ecominds and the MWIA will form part of the evidence for the evaluation of the project. The main findings are contained in this detailed report:

Please click here to download the St Mary’s Changing Minds MWIA Executive Summary Document (PDF format 838kb)

Mildmay Mission Hospital – the ‘Growing Out’ Project

Mildmay International’s UK hospital is a pioneering charitable HIV hospital with whom we have worked for many years.
We delivered the ‘Growing Out’ project for them, funded by Hackney Giving. The project used horticultural and eco therapies as a tool for rehabilitation and social inclusion for people with H.A.N.D (HIV associated neuro-cognitive disorder) and co-morbidities.

Read our final report An evaluation of the ‘Growing Out’ project at St Mary’s Secret Garden: September 2014 – January 2015 (docx file, 2.1Mb).

Fit2Grow Project

Fit2GrowcookbookThe ‘Fit2Grow’ pilot project in 2015 targeted people with learning disabilities (p.w.l.d.) in Hackney and neighbouring boroughs, and was funded by the Comic Relief Communities fund.

The project aimed to contribute to the local public health priority of tackling obesity and diabetes; as well as reducing social isolation, which is a significant issue for p.w.l.d. and can contribute to obesity.

Please click here to download the Project Evaluation report, March 2016 (PDF format, 587kb).