Lambeth GP Food Co-op celebrated its 10th anniversary at a Britxton community centre on 30 March, with local musicians and speakers.
The co-op, which is run by patients, doctors, nurses and Lambeth residents, focused on improving health and wellbeing by creating vegetable growing gardens at GP surgeries across the borough.
Lambeth Council has provided funding to the co-op to build and lead two new gardens in the borough, one at West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre and another at a local GP surgery in Stockwell.
The anniversary party, at 336 Brixton Road, brought together 40 attendees, including patients, local GPs, NHS staff, Lambeth Council staff and supporters.
“Well done to all of us….this was a very special event, and everyone was having a good time,” said Hilda Castillo-Binger, a founding member of the co-op. “Staff from one of our member GP surgeries baked our birthday cake. This is an example of co-operation in action.”
“When we set off 10 years ago in March 2013, we had a dream of creating a community led health co-operative here in south London,” said Dr Ed Rosen, director of Lambeth GP Food Co-op. “Over the past decade we have achieved so much, including being recognised by NHS England for our work in patient engagement in health and more recently being shortlisted by Co-operatives UK [for the 2021 Cooperative of the Year Awards]. We are proud to be part of the wider co-operative movement and look forward to contributing in the future.”
The event featured a performance by the Brixton Chamber Orchestra and presentations from co-op members, Dr Narveed Akhtar, a GP and College of Medicine Council member, and Jim Dickson, Lambeth Council cabinet member for health and wellbeing.
Lambeth GP Food Co-op owns a vegetable garden at King’s College Hospital NHS. The garden was set up seven years ago to support local patients with long-term health conditions to learn how to grow food and, by doing so, improve their health and wellbeing. The co-op also runs a monthly vegetable stall in the hospital’s Golden Jubilee Wing, an initiative supported by Medirest.
“We’re proud to have been based at King’s College Hospital for seven years,” said Rosen. “Throughout our time at Jennie Lee House we have provided access to green spaces for patients and staff, as well as contributing to the Trust’s Green Plan and supporting healthier communities. We look forward to more successful years at King’s.”
Lorcan Woods, chief financial officer at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, congratulated the co-op. “The co-op has been a supporter of our Green Plan since its launch in 2021,” he said, “and has been sharing invaluable knowledge on sustainable practices with the community for many years before. Their commitment to making a positive difference to the people of Lambeth and to making a more sustainable NHS is great, and we are delighted to be able to share this important milestone with them.”