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Born and raised in Ladbroke Grove, Tayshan Hayden-Smith has embarked on what has been an unconventional and unexpected journey.

Tayshan initially pursued a career in football, with dreams to one day play in the Premier League. Whilst he didn’t quite reach those heights, he’s enjoyed a career in football that has taken him around the world. It’s fair to say that the last 5 years have completely changed the direction of travel in both his personal and professional life.

Following the tragic and saddening events of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, Tayshan, amongst other members of the community took the streets to seek solace after experiencing loss on a scale never felt before in this way – people that were neighbours, friends and part of the community we’ve grown to love and cherish. In response, with no plan or strategy, Tayshan would then reclaim a small piece of land, initiating what would become known as the Grenfell Garden of Peace by the community. What was once an unused, unloved, derelict space became a beautiful, flourishing garden filled with life and love. People would walk past and share a smile; or stop to talk; and then exchange contact details; and even then offer their time to the garden – one thing that was evident was that the garden had no barriers and everyone was welcome. Tayshan then took this as inspiration to ‘guerilla garden’ in five other community spaces, creating gardens for the community, by the community.

After experiencing the healing and unifying powers of nature, Tayshan founded non-profit Grow2Know CiC as a vehicle to implement some of the much needed environmental and social change he believed the younger generations deserved in the community whilst creating a legacy honouring the lives lost at Grenfell Tower. Created to empower, inspire, educate and heal by creating more access to nature, December 2022 will mark three years since the birth of Grow2Know and has evolved and expanded to reclaim psychological and physical space to reconnect people with nature and each other.

Grow2Know have since collaborated with the Natural History Museum to build a garden in Lancaster West Estate; launched a three year partnership with Penguin Random House by building a Peter Rabbit inspired garden at St. Clements and St. James; collaborated with Nike to deliver a ‘Flowers x Football’ event for the community; and most excitingly, presented a statement garden at Chelsea Flower Show called Hands Off Mangrove which highlights a very local story of injustice through the Mangrove Nine, as well as spotlighting the environmental injustices of deforestation of the mangrove forests across the world, which is due to be located into the community in 2023.

Tayshan has since presented on the BBC as part of the Chelsea Flower Show team and is part of the design team on Your Garden Made Perfect as well as recently becoming an ambassador for the RHS and the Tree Council, using these exciting and far reaching platforms to accelerate his work in the community and spread positive and important messages on the environment and communities.