LGBT+ gardening group in Hackney could bag £12k in supermarket cash giveaway

Budding friendships: Rainbow Grow members enjoying a chat. Photograph: Rainbow Grow

A Hackney gardening collective is set for a much-needed cash boost after being shortlisted for supermarket giant Tesco’s Bags of Help scheme.

Rainbow Grow, a community group for people who identify as LGBTQI+ and are interested in growing edible plants, will be awarded either £12,000, £6,000 or £3,000 – money which has been raised through the sale of plastic carrier bags.

The initiative, developed by the supermarket in partnership with environmental charity Groundworks, will see shoppers voting in Tesco stores throughout the summer to decide which local project takes away the top prize.

Rainbow Grow is this week taking part in the prestigious Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and is hoping its participation will raise awareness of its plight as a “thriving food-growing group with no planting space to call our own”.

One member, Billy, joined when she was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.

She said: “Gardening together, with these lovely people, even when I’m not able to be very sociable, has been an enormously positive experience for me and aided my recovery greatly, as has taking home fresh produce to cook and eat.

“It’s particularly important to me to have a way of connecting with my LGBTQI+ community in a space without alcohol or drugs, and Rainbow Grow gives me this.”

The Bags of Help scheme, which has already delivered over £52 million to more than 16,000 projects, is taking place across England, Scotland and Wales.

Voting is open in all Tesco stores in July and August and customers will cast their vote using a token given to them at the check-out in store each time they shop.

Alec Brown, the supermarket’s Head of Community, said: “Bags of Help has been a fantastic success and we’ve been overwhelmed by the response from customers.

“It’s such a special scheme because it’s local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community.

“There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.”

For more information about Rainbow Grow, please visit the group’s Facebook page

To find out more about the Bags of Help scheme, go to