About Core Arts
Core Arts is a unique creative arts centre based in Hackney that promotes positive mental health and wellbeing through creative learning. Core Arts transforms the lives of people with severe mental health problems across London, with a thriving 30yr history. It is a creative powerhouse that champions the use of arts, sports and horticulture to promote the long-term health and mental wellbeing of people with serious mental health problems across London and connects communities via its vibrant projects.
Born 30 years ago out of a meeting of an entrepreneurial artist – Paul Monks, who leads the charity, and a group of psychiatric patients, Core Arts has become a highly sophisticated and dynamic charity, ensuring relevance and integrity to all its developments.
Core Arts’ mission is to use the arts, sports and horticulture to develop the creative potential in people who suffer from severe mental ill health. 68% of members also have complex care needs including criminal records, drug and alcohol dependency and homelessness. These are the service users who other services find hard to reach. Core Arts provides quality education, training, employment and social enterprise initiatives that enable people who experience mental health issues to overcome barriers, fulfil their potential and participate fully in their community.
About Core Landscapes, a Core Arts project
Transforming underused outdoor sites for positive mental health
Core Landscapes transforms underused land in deprived urban areas for people to self-manage their mental health, transform their local environments and connect to their wider community. Using horticulture, design, workshops, training and events to improve mental and physical health, overall wellbeing, and community cohesion.
We currently manage a range of green spaces including our roof garden, garage garden and street-level garden, plus nearby tree pits and street planters, and our 60m long meadow strip and community orchard in nearby Homerton Grove, with plans to green up more of the local environment further by creating a new community garden in the grounds of our neighbours, St Barnabas church, and where the plants from the Chelsea garden will be relocated to.
Core Landscapes began in 2009 as a “meanwhile” project and has relocated 4 times across 3 boroughs in the last 10 ten years using temporarily available land; harvesting and diverting rainwater, composting, greening up organically and using solar powered irrigation systems wherever it is based, now with a permanent base in Hackney.
Core Landscapes works with community volunteers, support volunteers and mental health-based referrals via Core Arts in a deprived inner city area where access to green education and space is limited showing that gardens can be created anywhere, anyhow by anybody.
About Andy Smith-Williams
Andy Smith-Williams strives to connect people to their gardens using clever spatial relationships, innovative material choice and most importantly by capturing the positive impact of plants – forming strong bonds to engaging spaces that hold character. These connections are key in creating gardens that evolve and bring environmental gain.
Andy has been a designer since 2008, working on award-winning international high profile projects. Recently taking up garden design he has graduated from The KLC School of Design with distinction. Following this, he was awarded a bursary to study at the London College of Garden Design based at Kew Gardens on the Planting Design Diploma graduating in 2021 with distinction, and will now be showing at Chelsea.