Inspiring, therapeutic environments in city farms and community gardens.

Registered Charity 1153883 / Company Number 8399741

Growing the community, together

Thanks to support from local building firms, Green Synergy is based in a renovated fish and chip shop on the Tower Housing Estate. We love being here, in the heart of several neighbourhoods in which we work.

Together with local residents we have set up three community garden projects within a two-mile radius. Our next big venture is to create a two-acre community garden hub next to the Tower Estate on derelict land at the back of the County Hospital. All of our work is driven by our core values, beliefs and charitable objectives.

Our Beliefs

We believe in the value of gardening and city farming to make positive improvements for communities and individuals.

We believe in the power of synergy

We believe in being professional and working to best practice standards

We believe in being sustainable…. Environmentally

Kids Gardening
Planting Bed

Our Values

The work of Green Synergy is driven by our core values:

  • Openess, honesty, trust, equality and social responsibility
  • Care for ourselves, other people, plants, animals and the environment
  • Respect for the views of others and
  • Enabling people to realise their potential

Our Charitable Objectives

Green Synergy exists to fulfil the following charitable objectives, as stated in our governing document:

  1. Use community gardening and city farming to develop skills and capacity of the members of the socially and economically disadvantaged communities in such a way that they are better able to identify, and help meet, their own needs and to participate more fully in society.
  2. Promote sustainable environmental, economic and social development for the benefit of the public.
  3. Promote social inclusion.
  4. Promote and protect good health in particular by providing opportunities to engage in therapeutic horticulture and agriculture.
  5. Advance the education of the public in horticulture, agriculture and conservation of the environment.
  6. Provide or assist in the provision of facilities in the interests of social welfare for recreation or other leisure time occupation.

Meet the Team

Mary Hollis | Founder and Chief Executive

01522 533077 / 07769342251

Many of my happy childhood memories involve growing and eating garden produce, looking after an assortment of pets and farm animals and, visiting family, friends and neighbours in my local community. These early influences went on to shape my adult life whereby I developed a strong interest in sustainable development. Over the years I have worked and volunteered on a range of community development, agricultural and environmental projects in the UK and abroad including a city farm in London and a vocational training centre in Botswana. I have studied for a BA Joint Honours Degree in Geography, Environmental and Development Studies and an MSc in International Rural Development Studies with Organic Agriculture. When I first moved to Lincolnshire in 2010 I was working for a national agricultural and environmental consultancy and through a work-based volunteering scheme I helped to set up a garden project for a local homeless charity- The Nomad Trust. Whilst doing research for the project, I was surprised to discover that, at that time, Lincoln didn’t have its own city farm or central community garden. Consultation with the local community revealed a need and an interest for more green space projects. One big leap of faith later – Green Synergy was born.

Gill Wardle: PA to CEO

I love gardening so I was thrilled when I was offered the post of PA to Mary the CEO of Green Synergy. I find being in the garden & pottering very relaxing (even weeding). We have an allotment too & I’m interested in growing organically. There’s such a satisfaction in being able to pick & eat something you’ve grown on the same day as well as eating things we’ve frozen when it’s well past their season.  I have a very broad administrative background with experience of the charity sector as well as the NHS. I really enjoy organising things (and people) and I’m really looking forward to growing alongside Green Synergy.

Jessica Alvey| Administrator

I have always been interested in gardening since childhood and am particularly passionate about wildlife and the natural world. Although I don’t currently have a garden where I live, my windowsills are filled with houseplants and seedlings! I first got involved with Green Synergy as a volunteer in June 2017 when I was out of work due to ill health and wanted to participate in a project within the local community, having only recently moved to Lincoln. This gave me the opportunity to engage in various activities in an outdoor environment including working on the garden at Hillside, developing the “Peace Garden” and assisting with planning and running the weekly kid’s club. In October 2018 I began working in a paid role for Green Synergy doing bookkeeping and administration, bringing skills from a variety of similar roles in which I have been employed in the past. I could bring my knowledge of Green Synergy through volunteering into this new role and I love having a job where I know my work is supporting a charity whose projects and values correspond with my own interests and values. I am very excited about continuing to work for Green Synergy and seeing the growth and development of Hillside garden and all the people we engage with through the different projects.

Lizzie McFarlane| Tower Power Project Officer

Following on from struggles with my own mental health, I rediscovered my affinity for growing and started volunteering with Green Synergy in September 2015. This affirmed to me my love of people and my passion to work with communities to improve people’s lives and support them in a positive way. After 12 months as a volunteer, I successfully applied for a role as a Trainee Project Officer with an apprenticeship in Horticulture.  I am now a Community Garden Project Officer and run the Tower Power Project. In future, I hope to develop my skills in therapeutic horticulture with a view to working on Green Synergy’s projects for people experiencing mental ill health.

Tom Espin: Get into Gardening Project Assistant

 I started as a volunteer with Green Synergy in September of 2017 and then became a Project Assistant on the staff team in December 2018. I am now jointly responsible for supervising the Get into Gardening sessions and developing the Hillside site. My interests are gardening, history, baking, music and wildlife. For the last fourteen years, I have been a member of the North Lincolnshire Horticultural Society and enjoy helping out with our annual show and plants sales. My real passion is growing vegetables, this has been passed down from my father and grandfather who taught me how to garden from an early age

Trudy Norris| Better Together Project Officer

 I was delighted to be appointed to this role to work alongside passionate and talented people. With a nudge from an elder, I developed an interest in plants as food and medicine from my late teens. As a result, I switched from a degree in politics to studying for a degree in Health and Community Studies I then trained in Western Herbal Medicine for 3 years and have been in practice as a herbalist for 25 years (FNIMH). As my interests in influences in health and wellbeing grew, I then sought to develop my skills and trained in adult learning (PGCE) and to qualify as a Counsellor (BACP). Green Synergy enables me to work with all my passions in life; plants, people and communities.

Lindsay Johnson| Better Together Project Assistant

 I started working with Green Synergy early in 2019. My interest in a career with Green Synergy arose from my passion for landscape, nature and the environment.
Having studied an undergraduate degree in environmental management and a postgraduate diploma in Landscape Architecture, I am able to read a variety of outdoor spaces and identify how they can be improved to create safe, beautiful, healthy, thriving places.
I care about the communities in which we live and am an advocate of the use of urban green space as a catalyst for social cohesion, a platform for environmental education and a way of mitigating the effects of climate change.
As part of the Better Together team, my role at Green synergy enables me to use gardening to have a positive effect on peoples’ mental health and well-being.

Meet our Trustees

Rev. Canon Alan Robson: Chair

I joined Green Synergy in 2016 and became Chair in 2017.  I am a Methodist Minister and Agricultural Chaplin for the County and I am also a founding member of the Lincolnshire Rural Support Network, helping farming families across the whole of Lincolnshire. My core driver is my ever-changing faith in spiritual exploration and mysteries of human well-being.  My passion is for people finding wholeness out of crisis- also finding hope in hopeless situations.

Ms Caty Collier: Trustee

I am the Area Coordinator for North Kesteven Voluntary Centre Services and have over twenty years’ experience in the voluntary and community sector including management of a UK-wide Heritage Lottery Fund diversity project. I first got to know Green Synergy in 2012, prior to them becoming a charity when they were seeking advice on incorporation. In 2016, I was invited to become a Board Member.  In my spare time, I am involved in community activities. Past voluntary roles have included wildlife habitat restoration and building a school in a remote part of Tanzania.

Mrs Annie Brown: Trustee

I have been involved in Green Synergy since its inception. I have lived in Lincoln for the last thirty years and during that time I have joined various voluntary and community groups, helping to organise many local events and activities. As a local resident, I have first-hand knowledge of some of the issues faced by the local communities we work with. I have previously run my own gardening business.

Simon Smith: Trustee

I am the residential partner with JHWalter LLP a property and business consultancy located in the City of Lincoln, along with being a trustee on the board of The Lincolnshire YMCA.

I became involved with Green Synergy through an invitation from the Chair to visit the community garden in the very early stages of development and was somewhat bowled over by the enthusiasm and determination shown by Mary and the whole team. Along with the fact that this very special place is only five minutes’ walk from my home, allowing me to be able to benefit from its healing powers whenever I want.

Professor Harriet Gross: Trustee 

After running a bookshop in South London, I did a psychology degree, many years later, I am a professor and part of the senior leadership team at Lincoln University. Most recently, I have been researching the psychology of gardening, which is also one of my passions, in 2018, I published a book (Psychology of Gardening, Routledge). I was also part of the team from Lincoln that developed ‘Digital Capabilities’ for the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show, a garden structure that responded to Twitter messages and won a gold medal. I joined Green Synergy’s Board in 2016.

Dr Sarah Clarke: Secretary

I have been involved with Green Synergy since its inception in 2012, first as treasurer and currently as secretary. My interests lie in growing plants and crops and giving everyone the opportunity to get involved and realise health benefits of gardening as well as knowing the satisfaction of getting a plant to flower or fruit. I grew up on a farm and am a Crop Scientist, working with farmers to help them understand and optimise the production of their crops. On a much smaller scale, I enjoy the veg patch at home and am encouraging the next generation in gardening and developing an understanding of where food comes from.

Parent & Child Gardening

Green Synergy was originally founded as a community group in 2012 and registered as a charity and company in 2013. To date our work and projects have included:

Creating community gardens on housing estates

Setting up windowsill growing initiatives for people living in flats

Delivering ‘meet your neighbour’ street gardening projects

Improving the appearance of built up areas through community hanging basket schemes

Running social and therapeutic gardening groups for friendship and mental wellbeing

Hosting gardening workshops to empower people to grow their own vegetables, fruit and flowers

Delivering ‘gardening for the brain sessions’ for people living with dementia

Designing sensory gardens for people with mental health conditions and learning disabilities

We look forward to many more exciting projects to come with your ongoing support. Let’s get growing!