Good for Nothing

Can we help Cultivate London train more young people in horticulture and become a successful social enterprise?

Venture: Cultivate London

Cultivate London is an innovative urban farm based across multiple sites (formerly disused plots of land) in West London. Cultivate London has three main objectives:

  • To generate training opportunities and jobs for unemployed young people aged 16-25 in practical horticulture.
  • To convert derelict and vacant land across London into productive food growing space.
  • To increase the amount of local and organically grown produce consumed by Londoners.

Ealing-based charity Pathways Housing Trust set up Cultivate London with the aim of addressing youth unemployment in Hounslow and Ealing.

Cultivate London is a horticultural social enterprise, whereby all income generated by the sale of the organically grown herbs, vegetables and flowers that we grow is directed back towards running the enterprise. This then allows us to continue to provide work and training experiences for the young people with whom we work.

One way that we provide training and experience is through offering horticultural apprenticeships. Our apprentices work with us 30 hours a week, while attending Capel Manor College on a part-time basis to complete a Level 2 Diploma in Practical Horticulture.

We currently have two full-time apprentices, but would very much like to be able to offer more such placements, as we feel that apprenticeships are one of the most effective ways for young people to gain the skills and confidence required to enter the world of work.

In addition to these apprentices, we have 6 other young volunteers working with and three of them will attend Capel Manor College in January to complete a Level 1 Certificate in Practical Horticulture. Youth who work with Cultivate London often benefit in a variety of ways, including:

  • Increased employability through the acquisition of new skills and competencies (e.g. horticulture skills and qualifications, business skills, people skills, health and safety qualifications etc.)
  • Increased confidence and self esteem
  • Exposure to a variety of new experiences
  • New friendships

The Challenge

The ambition for Cultivate London is to take on and develop more young apprentices and horticulturists. And therefore make a real difference to young people’s lives.

The core challenge for Cultivate London therefore is to increase their funding as well as the sales of plant & crops they produce to be able to support the expansion of this apprentice program.

So, the core focus of the Good for Nothing challenge:

Create a communications strategy and suite of communications to reach out, excite and engage their key audiences (young people seeking work and experience, funders and local businesses buying their crops), specifically

  • Help Cultivate London tell their brilliant story more powerfully eg. Integrating young apprentices’ stories on the web
  • Create a communication strategy by key audience
  • Refresh and develop core messaging by audience on and offline
  • Refresh the organisation’s look & feel
  • Develop a social media strategy, tactics and guide and principles for using Facebook/Twitter etc. effectively

Create impactful fundraising pitch and funding ideas to grow funds

  • Cultivate London need help to raise funds so they can offer more placements and accreditations to young people in West London.
  • Create a short powerful presentation and tools to support this
  • Explore and identify other sources of funding ideas, concepts, and contacts

Prototype a basic sales management system to expand the business

For local businesses looking to buy their salads, plants and flowers, Cultivate London would like a smarter but simple sales management system online to make their sales process more efficient.

Note: they have all their stock in a database and are looking for a simple bulk ordering system.

How can I help?

You can make a start on this challenge simply by contributing ideas, or get stuck right in and share your work with the community here. Login or join the movement to get started!