Hartcliffe health & environment action group (HHEAG)

14th August, 2013

Contributor: Bristol

Grass roots initiated holistic food based activities in an extremely vulnerable neighbourhood



Based in an outer city housing estate in South Bristol, recognised as an area of multiple deprivation, HHEAG have been active since 1990, following an Avon Health Authority initiated survey, asking residents about their views on living in the area and how it affected their health and well being. The subsequent report was presented to local people at a community meeting and from this was formed a steering group. HHEAG is now a registered charity and company limited by guarantee with a board of trustees drawn from local residents.

This committee steers the work of HHEAG by initiating action relating to emerging health and environmental needs that have been identified within the community. A Community Development approach is evident; encouraging, supporting and helping local people develop the skills necessary to take an active part in their community and work together to bring about change.

On this basis HHEAG has, over the years, developed a number of projects, some of which have become independent, for example The Dundry Hill Group and Hartcliffe & Withywood Mental Health Forum. Other projects such as the Community Market Garden and Nutrition and Cooking projects continue to be a core part of HHEAG’s work.


HHEAG offers opportunities to:

  • Grow healthy food – support in developing horticultural skills and volunteering opportunities at their Community Gardens
  • Buy fresh local produce – grown using organic methods in the community gardens – at ‘Food For All’ Co-op shop and stalls
  • Learn about nutrition and how to make healthy affordable food in our Nutrition and Cooking Courses, which also uses the fresh produce grown in our community gardens

‘Roots to work: Developing employability through community food-growing and other urban agriculture projects’ by the City &Guilds Centre for skills development, comments

‘participation in urban agriculture benefits peoples health, improves the environment in which people live and provide a sense of community…also provides community based learning and training opportunities which develop participants employability and can help people into work’

HHEAG is a long standing, established and highly rated project providing a wide range of services for the local community. Securing long term funding poses an on-going challenge, especially during a time of structural changes to national health commissioning services and a worsening economic situation that generates ever increasing demand.