About Us

Grow Community – Sopwell is a not for profit community group in Sopwell ward, St Albans, UK. It is run by volunteers, with regular committee meetings, as well as our working parties and events. On this page you can find our aims, committee members, agreed policies, and list of our funders and supporters.

Our aims: localised food production, less food waste, share produce, promote wildlife, connect with others

Grow Community – Sopwell: Committee

Kate in planter

Grow Community – Sopwell founder and Chair Kate Swindells, a Sopwell resident, is passionate about building local resilience and sharing how easy it is to grow your own food.

Kate is joined by local volunteers Lee Wood, Alison Shipperlee, Sonya Jefferson, Jo Cooney and Gail Jackson on the Grow Community – Sopwell committee.


Grow Community – Sopwell has a number of policies that help set out how we run. Find our Health and Safety Policy, Risk Assessments, Volunteer Pathways and more of our policies here…

How we got going

bug hotel sign

We have a lively Facebook group that you can join – and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Volunteers planting

Kate has always wanted to encourage people to become more resilient in a world where strong and connected local communities can help individuals cope with challenging situations.

The project began with a Facebook group and a community engagement event. The seeds and seedlings stall was all set up when Lockdown happened. The fully-stocked stall and online support proved invaluable for local residents in those times of uncertainty.

Kate by her seed stall
Residents by planter with welcome sign

Next, with permission from the council, the planters by the shops on Abbots Avenue were tidied up and edibles and herbal tea plants added.

Since then, the group has expanded to develop a Community Garden on Berners Drive – a place where people work together, design, dig and grow food for everyone in the community.

Children gardening


Thanks to St Albans City & District Council for helping us establish the garden. Others below have given grants, or provided goods and advice to support us.