What we do
Sowing the Seeds of Success – our film about a trainee’s year at Roots and Shoots
Roots and Shoots provides vocational training for young people from the inner city, mainly from the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. We aim to give them the skills and self-confidence that will equip them for work.
The charity was set up in 1982 by Linda Phillips, who is still the Director, to help young people from Lambeth and Southwark prepare for the world of work. Up to twenty 16-19 year olds who have had difficulty coping in the traditional educational system spend a year learning with us.
Alongside this training we involve local schools and the wider community by establishing our site as an important green space for urban biodiversity.
Since the charity was founded, the one-acre former Civil Defence site has been transformed. Where once a Meccano factory engineering works and barrage balloon launch pad stood are now our eco-training centre, plant nursery, shop, Wildlife Study Centre and Wild Garden.
The Roots and Shoots Wildlife Garden and Study Centre are a wonderful learning resource, providing environmental education for schools and the community. Diverse habitats have been developed in the Wild Garden to increase and promote the biodiversity of insect, plant and bird life. Surrounded by high buildings, the entire site is a lush inner-city oasis in which plants from warm temperate and mediterranean climates flourish.
The Wild Garden is also the base for the London Beekeepers’ Association who hold meetings and courses here. Our honey, said by many to be some of the best in London, is sold in our shop – stocks permitting! The shop also sells Roots and Shoots Orchard Bounty, our own apple juice, pressed on site with apples from our friends’ orchard in Wales, as well as other ethically sourced items.
The eco building
The eco building, completed in 2005 and officially opened in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales, is the hub of Roots and Shoots’ activities. It is clad in wood with sustainable energy and other environmental features.
There is a large photovoltaic roof (solar electricity) which generates around 50% of our needs, solar water heating, rainwater collection for the WCs and to water plants built-in insect and bird boxes in the cladding (for our hard-pressed sparrows and starlings).
It’s where the training rooms, office and reception are housed and has a light and spacious hall and meeting rooms, which are available for hire.