1. Home
  2. Our story

our story

Paradise Cooperative was founded in 2014 with the aim of finding and utilising underdeveloped land for urban growing and community gardening.

Wildlife pond at Dobbins Field

Our main site is Dobbins Field, an acre of land just opposite HM Wandsworth Prison, which we steward on their behalf. Once an overgrown and derelict site, we initially used rare-breed pigs to turn and fertilise the soil and begin the basis of our growing. The hard work of our volunteers has transformed the abandoned and overgrown site into a beautiful smallholding where local people can learn and laugh together. It is an oasis of green in the middle of our city, and to us it is paradise.

Removal day!


Brendan: has a background in property development and brings experience around planning and development. His passion is social enterprise and he works with the Mayor of London’s initiative to support Community Land Trusts throughout the city. He holds an MSc in Sustainability.

Johnny: is a local Anglican priest, pioneer and poet – with experience in community relief and development, social enterprise and sustainability. He also developed a groundbreaking vocational learning community called make believe, hosted in Bournemouth Dorset, London, New Haven CT and Dallas TX. He loves nature and the outdoors as a place for learning and personal development.

Jo: has been a teacher for more than two decades, specialising in Geography and the Sixth Form. She works at Saint Cecilia’s, Church of England School, in Southfields. She is passionate about outdoor education and everything geographical.

Scott: has a background in finance and now works in environmental finance. He has a passion for bees, biodynamics, and permaculture after having taken a sabbatical to work in sustainable farming.

Paul: works as a director of the world’s largest international bank where, amongst other responsibilities, he designs Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) solutions. He is passionate about using his finance skills to support local community based enterprises.

Claire: Claire’s background is in HR and she has been running her own HR Consulting business since 2014 working predominately with local businesses and charities. She loves the outdoors, whether that is walking, cycling or even a bit of gardening.

Wildlife in the pond

Our Team

Lauren: our Head of Education, Lauren oversees our Paradise Learning programme. She delivers our Paradise Learning workshops to local primary schools, having swapped the classroom for the outdoors.

Naomi: our Head of Community Food Growing, Naomi is leading efforts to develop our sustainable food-growing site all the while supporting and enhancing the biodiverse eco-system at Dobbins Field.

Mari: our Head of Community Development, Mari oversees outreach, communication and partnerships at Paradise Cooperative, helping us to achieve our vision of enriching the lives of local people.

Clementina: assists our Paradise Learning workshops and clubs, helping children develop their enjoyment of nature and the world around them.

Sam: Level 3 Forest School trained and has been running Paradise Wild (formerly Wild Child) and Forest school programmes for several years. He has also been involved with many other alternative education projects.

For environmental education jobs see environmentjob.co.uk.