Grounded Community, Boscombe

Tucked away behind St Clement’s Church in Boscombe is a ‘secret garden’, where a green-fingered community group grows food that provides subsidised boxes for low-income families.

The garden sprang to life in 2012 when two neighbouring schools and local people transformed a big bramble bush into an amazing community space, complete with raised beds, poly-tunnels, a chicken run, and a pond.

In 2016 Grounded Enterprises was launched to sell veg boxes and to run a local farm space.

Michael French became involved, initially as a volunteer, and then took the project forward to become Grounded Community, gaining charitable status in January 2020.

“The help CAN gave us to gain charitable status was amazing, we simply couldn’t have done it without you. We’ve also really benefitted from your trustees’ courses,” said Michael.

CAN has introduced several volunteers, including Paul, now a regular. He was a little lost after Boscombe’s Oxfam shop, where he worked, closed. Local business has also supported the project, thanks to CAN.

The volunteers include people recovering from mental health issues and addiction to others who just want to grow healthier food. Lots of young people get involved, including school children and CAN’s Bournemouth Young Volunteers.

Michael estimates around 1,000 people have enjoyed the secluded oasis, which now features a cool ‘off-grid’ shack powered by solar panels. It boasts a kitchen, a compost loo and provides a sanctuary for the workers.

“We want to educate people about how to produce sustainable and healthy food for our community and help the disadvantaged. Our planet needs better care. Our system is not sustainable with too much packaging, air miles, chemicals and waste. Everything from Grounded is chemical-free, as far as possible package free and comes in a recyclable box.

“I’m very proud that, as volunteers, we’ve kept running for more than five years and consistently produced great food, with a lot of hard work.”

Grounded also stages a monthly community meal to spread the word.

“We need to think globally and act locally to ensure a sustainable supply of fresh, healthy food for the future.”

For more visit: or call Michael on 07530 987349.