Meet our fantastic team…
Cathy Maund has been working with the HCGA since its inception over thirty years ago
I have a very varied role at HCGA including project management, grant fundraising, finance, managing the volunteer programme and working with other organisations on environmental projects,. I love working with volunteers and the community, helping people to engage with nature and develop a new appreciation for the environment.
At HCGA I look after the commercial contracts which generate income for the charity whilst making urban spaces green and increasing biodiversity. I also lead the fantastic Get Out There! volunteer group, as well as the corporate volunteering days for local companies wanting to invest in their community and environment. I have a particular interest in permaculture and building communities.
I currently teach in three primary schools where I give the pupils knowledge and the experience of nature, wildlife and food growing. I was previously a Primary School Teacher in London for eight years where I gained valuable experience and knowledge of the Primary National Curriculum which allows me to adapt my gardening lessons and teaching style to suit many different learners' abilities.
I started working for HCGA in September 2009 facilitating family gardening sessions at Phoenix School Farm and currently work for the charity as a schools gardener in two primary schools in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. I’m interested in enabling children and adults to grow their own food, both as valuable life skill and as a way of building resilience in the food system.
I’ve lived and worked in Shepherds Bush for years. I discovered Phoenix Farm after going swimming in my local pool opposite. I rattled the farm gate and Cathy let me in! I loved the garden immediately and became a regular volunteer, then went on to study horticulture and now work as a community gardener running volunteer and family sessions for local residents. I also work on gardening projects on White City. I love growing veg and flowers from seed. It’s magic.
A friend on my allotment introduced me to HGCA and I joined in May 2021. I run the Grow Well programme where the activities include gentle gardening, cooking and making herbal and nature-based craft, which draws on my Aromatherapy and teaching background. In addition I lead walks for the volunteers and run herbal activity workshops at other sites. I meet the most interesting and diverse groups of people and making a small, positive change to some people's lives is extremely rewarding.
I’ve been working with schools designing environmental and growing gardens for around 15 years now. I also work with all kinds of adults and I’d like to carry on creating that wonder and pleasure in the natural world in the city for as many people as possible for as long possible.
I started volunteering at Phoenix Farm in 2017 and the Farm became my second home. I am a School Gardener and Adult Education Tutor with HCGA running herbal courses with other members of staff. Both roles are allowing me to use my transferable and artistic skills to inspire young people and adults. I love arts in general, gardening, cooking, sewing and travelling.
My role involves working in a secondary school garden in the borough where I teach gardening and nature-based lessons to pupils, look after the chickens and guinea pigs on site as well as run an afterschool club. I also run a volunteer group at a community garden where local residents grow fruit and vegetables as well as maintain the garden. Around these two projects I support with our contracts work and with other education projects we have running. I am passionate about making nature and green spaces accessible for all.
Esther de Groot
I have previously worked in education as a secondary school teacher and, after qualifying as a Garden Designer and with my own children growing up, I worked in outdoor education as a Gardening Teacher in different primary schools. I strongly support what gardening can offer children in education, especially all that it provides for their well being and zest for life. In my spare time I work on my allotment where I grow vegetables and keep chickens and quails.
I am Director of Urbanise.London, an environmental education charity that works closely with HCGA. My experience is in teaching horticulture and environmental education to all age groups and running a variety of different projects with schools and the local community.
I have worked in the borough for over 30 years in charities tackling Domestic Abuse. Being part of the work of HCGA has given me a space to step away from the stresses of my work and focus on growing plants for pleasure and food. I have been able to use my skills in project management and policy development in my role as a trustee and volunteer.
I joined HCGA as a volunteer to learn more about gardening and am now studying for a RHS Level 2 certificate. I am a local resident and parent and come from the world of management consulting. I love the sense of friendliness and community you see everywhere in HCGA and I am glad to have the opportunity to volunteer my time as a trustee.