A garden space in the middle of a construction site

Skip Garden, Kings Cross, London

The charity Global Generation was founded in 2004. A response to a culture which elevates consumerism above everything and sees the earth as a mere commodity. In the face of these challenges, and perhaps counter intuitively, the charity put it’s faith in the creative potential of people living and working in the city. 

Global Generation operates in boroughs that have some of the highest deprivation and crime statistics in the UK. It helps these communities become healthy and environmentally responsible. To the disenfranchised young people living in these areas it offers a way out- enabling them to develop the social, emotional and practical skills they will need to experience the world in a more connected way.

Businesses too are encouraged to engage with the communities they operate in. Young people learn from them and visa versa. A great deal of the Charities success is down to the way they bring these different groups together around the rhythms and patterns of nature. Gardens, for example, are designed and built on top of office buildings and in front of restaurants. This creates an income and is an opportunity for businesses to work alongside young people around a set of priorities that are different to the day - to - day needs of running a company.

A wonderful example of the charities philosophy is the Skip Garden in Kings Cross. Built in 2009, the garden is situated in the middle of an ever - changing construction site. As the site developed the garden was picked up and moved. Much of it is built from construction waste, with its development managed by a mix of volunteers, local young people and architecture students.

The garden has now become home to a series of activities that run throughout the year. These are a mix of environmental workshops and creative arts that make use of the abundant natural flora growing in the garden. Sourcing good food, cooking and eating together is central to the charities community building process. The delightful result of all this is the Skip Garden kitchen – a commercial café and events space. Together, the kitchen and garden are central to the charities vision.

At the Skip Garden hospitality training and the chance of employment are offered to local young people. So far over 150 local young people have participated in the Generator youth leadership programme run by the charity.

To tell the story of the Skip Garden in more human terms we spent time with three young people who are closely involved with the project.