Whilst voting has caused some controversy lately, SCT’s award winning gardeners are delighted to be selected for Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ customer vote in which we the people get to decide which local projects are awarded up to £4,000 from the 5p charge on carrier bags. 
After shopping at the stores marked on the map above during March and April, you can vote for SCT, helping local people in their recovery from addictions, and making our area even more beautiful. For once the choice is simple. Help our project named ‘SCT Gardening and Growing for Recovery’ secure the top prize by asking for a token at the check-out.
The SCT gardening course maintains the park of St Leonard’s Church. This nurturing work helps people learn, heal and grow and is a vital part of many people’s recovery journey: Our Royal Horticultural Society-qualified tutor teaches gardening skills to students, some of whom have never done any gardening before. For many this is the first time they are responsible for something that will grow and last. Clearing, planting and pruning are powerful metaphors for the experience of healing and growth in the lives of people in recovery as they face the difficulties of their past. This is especially true in terms of the time it takes to see results in both recovery and gardening; it teaches patience. 
Our gardening course is a safe space to learn to get along with others, work in a team and start to rebuild relationships. Through this people also become more independent, build vital friendship with others in recovery, gain communication skills and prepare for work experience and ongoing horticultural courses.
Before SCT’s team started looking after the garden it had been greatly neglected; used for drug abuse and rough-sleeping, it was avoided by most people. Thanks to our students restoring and maintaining the space, it is now a safe, quiet haven a stone-throw away from busy Shoreditch High Street. Last year the Church Gardens even won a coveted Green Flag Award for well managed parks. It was the venue for SCT’s 50th anniversary garden party, at which we launched a Shakepeare themed wildflower garden in neglected part of the site. The beautiful green space is appreciated by the locals who make good use of it; on sunny days it attracts people from all sorts of backgrounds to enjoy lunch in the sun.
We hope you’ll choose to back SCT’s gardeners, and visit the Church Gardens to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Remember – unlike a referendum or US presidential election, you can vote more than once! The more often the better.
Thanks for your support, and to Tesco and their partner Groundwork for including SCT in this fantastic scheme.