Margaret Meets: George Lamb

17.05.21

We catch up with friends of Margaret to hear about their recent projects, thoughts and inspirations.

Margaret’s budding presenter / producer Eliane caught up with George Lamb, to have a chat about his social enterprise GROW.

GROW is an ambitious and urgent response to the accelerating climate emergency, rising obesity levels amongst children and young people in the UK. The GROW mission at their pilot school is to create and exemplify a model for tackling the root causes of these three critical and intrinsically connected issues within schools and communities: with education, empowerment, and access at its core.

Continue reading to explore the mission of GROW further, as well as what community means to George and more!

 

What is the first thing on your list for when lockdown is officially over?

“Hmm, what is the first thing? I suppose like everybody, going out and seeing your friends and a bit of spontaneity is what I’m really missing. A different sense of ability you know. It all still feels quite heavy, the bearing and being restrained all the time. Just energetically moving into a new zone. Doesn’t mean we forget everything that has gone before. I really hope we use this intersection in time to look forward and actually start changing our behaviour and changing our practices. A lot of it wasn’t really serving everybody. There’s definitely learning that we’ve had from this, that I think could make society and life much more happy and enriching. We could all be living far more enriching lives with a huge minor twist. So, I think that opportunity to reboot and reset and try to do things a bit differently.”

 

One of Grow’s aims is to see GROW become second nature, as normal in a young person’s day as a maths lesson or football practice…what was second nature to you, as a child?

“I was playing out a lot basically. I was growing up in a time before mobile phones and the internet and all that stuff and so you just kind of left in the morning, made some parameters and you were off! I suppose actually, that kind of ties back to the first question, basically running around with my cousins and seeing what happened. Being outside and being with your pals and being spontaneous and playing lots of sports. We were forever playing football or basketball or something or another. For me, if we can find a way to weave all the stuff that Grow is about. Grow for me isn’t actually a figurative thing, it’s not like “now we sit down and do Grow.” Grow is meant to just encompass all the stuff that makes you feel better about yourself and give you self-belief and give you a better understanding of where you sit in the world. For me, it’s about weaving Grow into all the stuff that we like doing. If we can manage that, it will be a win.”

 

What represents “community” to you?

“I’m quite lucky with the road I live on. I’m sure it’s been heightened by COVID but I actually think outside of that I think this is an amazing road that I’ve stumbled on to. There’s a mad mix of people and everyone looks out for one another. We all talk and help, there’s a whatsapp group. There’s a lady who opens the stoop of her house as a speak-easy when the sun is out. You honestly get such a wicked mix of people. People who have lived on the street for 50 years, students who are stopping by, families who have just moved into the neighbourhood. I see my community as less abstract and more the people around me and the space that I am in. I see London as my community. I’m quite torn as identity is also a big thing for everybody, but I definitely see myself as a Londoner and looking out for people in my neighbourhood.”

 

What advice would you give to first-time crowd funders? Or to someone thinking about starting a new business?

“Nobody likes going into an empty dance floor. Make sure you T up all your friends and family and tell them they are obliged to help you basically. We did a soft launch the day before, so that when it went public, there was already some money in there. Then it’s about comms – keep going, keep pushing. If you believe in your project enough that you’re doing a crowd funder, you have to have unwavering self-belief as you move forward. There will be a really good first week, which could drop off. The doubt starts to creep in but you have to say no, you’re going to go again and keep hassling people and keep pushing. Most of the time, when I’ve given to crowd funders, it’s very rarely the first time it’s come across me. Don’t think just because they haven’t given you money, doesn’t mean they don’t like what you’re doing. You’ve got to be relentless. The first person to put money in should be you.”

 

This week is Mental Health awareness week and the theme of nature, do you have any advice for young people on looking after their mental health? How do you look after your own mental health?

“Get out in nature, that’s number one always. All the answers are out there. I live quite close to Hackney Marshes and I have a dog. In the summertime and even now in the spring, it’s magical down there. In the last few weeks, all the canopies of the trees, all the banks of cow parsley and stinging nettles are really vibrant and green and full of life. I wake up quite early in the summertime and go for a walk by the river. If you stick close to the river bank, you can imagine you’re in the forest somewhere. You watch the light come through and you hear the animals and you realise that you’re actually part of something much bigger. Everything is going to be alright.”

 

And lastly, in one sentence why should people support Grow?

“Everybody should know how to grow their own food and look after their mental health.”

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