Earthworks eco-gardens: help us nurture our people

by Earthworks in St. Albans, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 16th April 2020 we successfully raised £1,625 ( + est. £290.00 Gift Aid ) with 55 supporters in 42 days

Help fund accessible, water-conserving eco-garden toilets, to nurture our people and to minimise environmental impact for years to come

by Earthworks in St. Albans, England, United Kingdom

For 25 years, our much-loved charity Earthworks has nurtured people and planet through Social and Therapeutic Horticulture.

Our project

We support people with learning disabilities – known as Earthworkers – to manage 3.5 acres of eco-gardens lovingly built by Earthworkers and volunteers on the edge of St Albans. Over many years our compost toilets have deteriorated, which for our Earthworkers is very difficult. We need new, accessible toilets which will keep Earthworks a happy place for all. The project includes a water-conservation system which would collect rainwater from our roofs for use in our cisterns, ensuring minimal environmental impact for years to come.  

What we do

We support people with learning disabilities – known as Earthworkers – and our wonderful volunteers to manage beautiful eco-gardens in St Albans. We cultivate fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants with organic methods, and we build and conserve wildlife habitats.

By providing purposeful activity, we develop traditional countryside and life skills, build confidence, boost well-being and promote social inclusion.

With a stall at the monthly St Albans farmers’ market and our seasonal open days, Earthworks engages the wider community to champion inclusivity, learning and sustainable living. 

Our inspirational pilot project, Earthworks on Wheels, empowers Earthworkers to travel into the community to use learnt horticulture skills to care for the gardens of vulnerable people.

Our impact

In Hertfordshire, 95% of people with learning disabilities are not in any kind of employment. Opportunities for purposeful work or activity are few.

Earthworks was born in 1995 out of a need expressed by people with learning disabilities for social involvement and creative occupation. Over 25 years Earthworkers, supported by staff and volunteers, have transformed waste land into 3.5 acres of beautiful and flourishing eco-gardens.

Our Earthworkers might be self-referred or referred by local services. Social care funding currently covers most of the cost of our support staff, but other funding we must find elsewhere.

Our work is person-centred, meaning we provide the environment, support and choices to help people reach their aspirations and possibilities. Through time spent in our gardens, we see increased confidence, health and well-being, as well as new horticulture and life skills. 

The carer of an Earthworker says: “The care here runs deeper than what is visible. It is more meaningful, more impactful than can be measured.”

The impact of our Earthworks on Wheels project has been extraordinary. Earthworkers get a huge boost of confidence and well-being from employing skills mastered at Earthworks to help others. This breaks down barriers and has the potential to transform communities.

After weeding the garden belonging to an older person who was not able to care for it themselves, an Earthworker said: “After doing all that, I feel quite proud and pleased. One of the best things you can get out of work is to help out the lives of others.”

Why we need your help now

Over many years our onsite compost toilets have deteriorated. They are now not working properly, particularly in increasingly hot summer weather. This has a huge impact on our Earthworkers.

Many of our Earthworkers have Autistic Spectrum Disorder or other sensory needs. Autistic Spectrum Disorder affects the way people experience the world. For many people this means senses can be over-sensitive to the point of sensory overload, which can cause stress, anxiety and even physical pain.

As a result, for some Earthworkers the experience of using our toilets is profoundly difficult.

We want Earthworks to continue to be a place of inclusion and compassion. 

It is essential we rebuild our toilets.

We are also unable to invite visitors to our gardens for any length of time. Being able to welcome visitors for a longer time would increase attendance events and workshops, and allow our beautiful site to flourish with new people, community and income in the coming years.

Sustainability is at the heart of Earthworks. The budget for this project includes a water conservation feature which will collect rainwater from our roofs for use in our toilet cisterns. Conserving water is vitally important in water-stressed Hertfordshire, where rainfall is low but rate of water use per person is one of the highest in the UK. A rainwater collection, storage and pump system will ensure minimal environmental impact for years to come. 

Any funds raised over our target amount will be spent supporting our Earthworkers to manage our eco-gardens: building confidence and skills, and protecting the natural world.

In our 25th anniversary year, please help us continue to be an accessible, compassionate and happy place for people of all abilities.

Thank you.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£20 or more

Wall of thanks and entry into Arsenal prize draw!

Your name featured on our wall of thanks in our beautiful eco-gardens at Earthworks - PLUS entry into our prize draw to win 2 tickets to see Arsenal play in the 20/21 season. (Choose from 13 fixture dates.)

£15 or more

Earthworks tote bag + Ye Olde FightingCocks draw

Show your ongoing support with our branded Earthworks cotton tote depicting our logo with green tree and birds. (Perfect when dropping by our stall at the St Albans farmer's market!) Please collect. PLUS entry into our prize draw to win dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine at Britain's oldest pub Ye Olde FightingCocks!

£20 or more

Wall of thanks

Your name featured on our wall of thanks in our beautiful eco-gardens at Earthworks!

£25 or more

1 of 15 claimed

Cream tea and tour of Earthworks' eco-gardens

Join us for a tour of our beautiful eco-gardens and then a cream tea surrounded by flowers on our patio. This event is scheduled to be held on Saturday 18 July 2020. Please note: there is a chance we may be required to delay the event until a later date in the case of advice from Public Health England.

£36 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Family ticket to Polar Bear Plunge 2021

A ticket for 2 adults and their children to plunge or spectate at the famous St Albans Polar Bear Plunge 2021! The event sees adventurous people, many in fancy dress, take a dip in the St Albans Sub Aqua Club's icy outdoor pool to celebrate the New Year. To find out more visit

£49 or more

0 of 1 claimed

2 tickets to our Willow Wreath Workshop

Two tickets to Earthworks' Willow Wreath Workshop in December, where you'll cut, weave and decorate your own wreath beside the fire in our log cabin.

£150 or more

0 of 4 claimed

In-house talk at your business with an Earthworker

We will come to you, with one of our Earthworkers, and tell our story. Great if you would like to offer your staff something completely different in their lunch hour and learn about the impact of your donation. Gain an insight on our work in nurturing people and planet, championing inclusion and promoting sustainable living. Please note that we may be required to delay visits in person in the case of advice from Public Health England.

£150 or more

0 of 2 claimed

A visit from Earthworks on Wheels!

Our inspirational pilot project Earthworks on Wheels takes Earthworkers out into the community in a specially adapted van to care for gardens of vulnerable people. This reward will see us visit YOUR garden or outside area - residential or corporate - and have it looking neat and tidy in no time! Within St Albans and surrounding areas.

£190 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Portrait photography by Stephen Pike in our garden

Treat your family to a Pike Photography portrait session in our beautiful eco-gardens, which include an orchard, meadow, woodland and allotment! You will receive your edited photos via a digital gallery to print and share as you like. Learn more about Stephen at

£200 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Host your own tea party at Earthworks!

Host your own tea party in our beautiful gardens on the outskirts of St Albans. Enjoy the use of our eco-building, patio, ornamental lawns - and new toilets! Invite up to 25 people. Due to timing restrictions, please do discuss with us before donating.

£450 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Corporate day for 15 people

Amazing opportunity to see the impact of your support first-hand. Gift your staff a day alongside our Earthworkers and volunteers in our eco-gardens, experiencing social inclusion and sustainable living. You could be building a wildlife habitat, constructing a garden area or helping harvest our produce, and spending your breaks either surrounded by flowers or beside our roaring log fire. You are welcome to discuss needs with us before donating.

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