Grow with John – Greening Croydon

Historic Croydon charity, the John Whitgift Foundation, has announced an ambitious gardening project to inspire residents to shrug off winter, dust off the trowels and get green fingered across the London borough.

The newly launched ‘Grow with John‘ campaign is designed to seed its gardening programme for all ages and backgrounds through a dedicated microsite hosting content for the community, made by the community.

Following the past difficult year in 2020, with its restrictions for all ages in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ‘Grow with John’ campaign, will see the roll out of thousands of seed packets across schools and care homes. Whether you are nine or ninety the Foundation is determined to get the community involved.

Designed to inspire creativity with any windowsill, balcony or porch, the campaign’s microsite will be packed with fun, easy and affordable tips and resources for gardeners of all ages and abilities.

All microsite resources have been collected from residents across Croydon with local families, teachers and allotment owners all showing their support by sharing their journey as they get to grips with growing.(pictured left: Friends of Grangewood Park at work)

Now more than ever its crucial for children to reconnect with each other outside and part of the campaign will see free seed packs distributed across five Croydon schools, utilising the power of plants to rebuilt the vital life skills of confidence and teamwork, that have suffered during lockdown.

‘Grow with John’ will also see the charity partner with the RHS to pilot their Grow Social programme across five care homes in the borough.

Catherine Shirley, of John Whitgift Foundation, said: “Celebrating 425 years of supporting people of all ages and backgrounds across Croydon, this is the biggest community project in our history and will bring the joy of gardening direct to the heart of our residents. The campaign will work to improve mental health, healthy eating, and sustainable living across the borough, and we can’t wait to paint the town green and see what residents get growing.”

The campaign also has the support of Alan Titchmarsh MBE who points out that gardening is such a life-saver, both for individuals and in communities: “It fosters our understanding of the natural world, feeds us and lifts our spirits. Congratulations to the wise people of Croydon on the ‘Grow with John’ project which is a brilliant idea and one which I hope other schools and communities will learn from. Grow well!”

Croydon residents can sign up to a newsletter for gardening tips as well as getting involved with the campaign. For more information please visit:

Good luck to everyone as they embark on this brilliant initiative.