Our work involves:
• Helping people build skills and confidence
• Improving people’s mental and physical wellbeing
• Building community capacity and connections
• Enhancing our local environment and being environmentally sustainable
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
Although it has always been our intention to create a large community garden/ city farm hub for Lincoln we did not secure a piece of land on which to do this until February 2017. During the first four years, whilst we were looking for a suitable site, we:
• developed a number of small community gardens with local residents in neighbourhoods around Lincoln,
• worked with voluntary and public sector partners to deliver therapeutic and social horticulture sessions to their beneficiaries, clients and patients
• Created a dementia-friendly gardening programme and training course for staff and family caring for people living with dementia
You can read more about these activities in the past projects area of our website.
From 2017- current
In February 2017 we signed a lease for 2.5 acres of derelict land at the back of Lincoln County Hospital. Named “Hillside Community Garden” it is now our main site from which we deliver all our projects. During 2017 and 18 we gradually withdrew from our neighbourhood-based projects, ensuring that they could be sustained by the residents and partners who we created them with. Since that time, we have been developing the physical infrastructure on Hillside and building up a portfolio of projects to deliver our mission and vision. You can read more about Hillside Community Garden and the projects we currently run there in the current projects area of our website
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:
- 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.
- Promote sustainable environmental, economic and social development for the benefit of the public.
- Promote social inclusion.
- Promote and protect good health in particular by providing opportunities to engage in therapeutic horticulture and agriculture.
- Advance the education of the public in horticulture, agriculture and conservation of the environment.
- 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
Many of my happiest childhood memories involve gardening, looking after an assortment of pets and farm animals, and visiting family, friends and neighbours in my local community. These early influences led me to have a strong interest in sustainable development and to study for a BA and MSc in related subjects including International Rural Development and Organic Agriculture. 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. When I first moved to Lincolnshire in 2010, I was shocked that Lincoln didn’t have its own city farm or community garden and together with a group of like-minded people began to discuss whether it may be possible to set one up. Ideas began to develop into action and in 2012 Green Synergy was founded.
Trudy Norris | Projects Manager
01522 533077 / 07881 308285 | firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 and 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.
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
Brodi Wyman: Projects Apprentice
From being a small child, I have been out and about in the wilderness, gardening, camping and all of that sort of stuff. I’ve always had a keen sense of responsibility for the environment and doing my best to help the planet and the people that inhabit it. I’d just come out of school and had no clue what I wanted to do, looking everywhere for a job when the opportunity came up to do an apprenticeship with Green Synergy. It is a varied role where I not only get a chance to be outside, but I also get to help people in the local community and work with kids, which having many younger ones in my family, is something that appeals to me. I look forward to my year ahead.
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.
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.