Sow the City

Who are they?

Sow the City is a Manchester-based social enterprise with a mission to build a healthier and greener city. They support over 100 community growing projects, offering workshops, events and advice in gardening, nature-based activities, carpentry and DIY.

What do they do and why?

Sow the City cover some of the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester and work with a diverse range of marginalised groups e.g. BAME groups, youth services, ex-offenders and those experiencing homelessness, addiction, mental ill-health, disability etc. Since 2009 they have provided workshops for 4785 people in self-sufficiency, food growing and cooking and facilitated 2600 volunteering hours. Their projects provide affordable and fresh food, reduce food miles, provide volunteering and employment opportunities and create happier healthier communities.

In May 2018 Sow the City moved into their long-term home the “Boiler House”, a community makerspace in Moss Side - a space for local people to make things, learn new practical skills, and to be creative. When the building is fully developed it will include office and activity space for small businesses, hobbyists as well as access to a shared workshop, space for community events, and a leading example of sustainable building design.

What funding did they receive and how did it help them?

Sow the City has taken investment from GM Social Investment of £41,900 to help them to develop the new site and to grow their team, so that they can maximise the new opportunities the Boiler house will provide.

“The GM Social Investment Fund has given us the confidence to move into the Boiler House premises and start to expand our operations. The site will provide a community space for local people, encouraging community cohesion and creative and interactive sessions will help to reduce loneliness and isolation” Jon Ross, Director - Sow the City

What impact has the funding had?

Since opening in May 2018, the funding has helped Sow the City to redevelop the Boiler House, creating a functioning community space for local people:

  • Building new workshop space for community activities – specifically a woodworking shop, DIY workshop and redeveloping the main hall for larger community events (e.g. monthly Moss Side Repair Café)

  • Installing two new toilets downstairs, one accessible for those with disabilities

  • Creating a sound and heat-insulated reception area and breakout space

  • Major development of the outdoor area, creating new growing and composting facilities for the community

  • Sow the city are also in the process of renovating the upstairs space – setting up an office with room for hot-desking and a new meeting room, available for community use.

There are still many more developments to come, with additional funding sourced to run workshops and courses offered free to the community, and match funding from Veolia to build an additional storey of new workshop space.

For more information about Sow the City, visit www.sowthecity.org

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