Zinnia Community Enterprise was created to renovate a derelict, but once thriving plant nursery and provide a therapeutic, fun and unique resource for the local community and across South East London/Kent.
We provide a safe and inclusive environment for people who have support or social needs, or anyone else who wishes to join. It is important to us we do not isolate people by running specific groups for people with different needs, for example learning disabilities or mental health difficulties, but rather we have mixed groups in which people can support and learn from each other; We feel this is what makes our team so successful.
We have been thrilled with the feedback from some of our volunteers - We have been told that Zinnia is the only place one volunteer, who is recovering from depression, has felt she was immediately accepted just the way she is; Another told us coming to Zinnia, after 12 years unemployed and many years of depression, has given him the confidence to return to work.
Building on our successes and with our excellent volunteer team, we now feel it is time to take the next steps to expand Zinnia and start a flower farm, so we can sustainably grow and sell cut flowers and foliage and be part of the fabulous renaissance in British flower growing. The money we raise will go towards buying stock: seeds, shrubs, roses etc - and also helping us to prepare the land. Anyone will be welcome to volunteer for the project and we will have training roles for those with support needs who want to develop skills for work in horticulture, business and administration.
This is an excellent time to invest in British cut flower farming, the UK is the third biggest buyer of cut flowers, contributing to an industry worth £100bn globally, so there is a strong market for the products we can grow. There is an exciting new generation of UK growers and florists, as celebrated in the Channel 4 documentary ‘The Billion Pound Flower Market’ and the wonderful social media group #BritishFlowers.