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Meet Matt Wilcock

By February 11, 2024No Comments

Meet Matt Wilcock

“What a fantastic volunteering day! With the weather on our side, and guidance from our expert host Matt, our National Grid leadership team got stuck in and we were able to make a real difference to a local community playground. Thank you.” Paige, Team Coordinator, National Grid.

Matt wears two hats at Leaves Breathe. For half the week he is behind a laptop as CEO, and for the other half he is running team volunteering days and getting stuck into soil. The Leaves Breathe team sent in to the following questions for him to answer below:

  1. What do you enjoy about gardening with volunteers?
    Matt: The energy, the curiosity of the volunteer teams, the satisfaction. Ha! Ok, I’ve named three things already there. Perhaps above all there’s a real sense of purpose on our corporate volunteer days. It’s not always immediately obvious to the incoming employee volunteers. But, by the end of the day, the green sites we work in are always visibly and significantly different. There’s a real sense of accomplishment and reward we all share in. I started Leaves Breathe to support a community garden I started in Hull. You can read the whole story here.
  2. What’s your favourite garden or green space?
    Matt: I’m cheating here because I’m picking a garden I’ve worked on over the last year. I love the Lucy Brown House (LBH) community garden. When we started working there it had clearly been neglected for many years. Ivy had almost swallowed most of the garden whole. But we’ve been cutting back, planting up. Because LBH is a sheltered housing community garden, we spend the day with the residents who live there. Meeting and chatting to the people you’re helping really brings the sense of purpose of my work to life. Very rewarding. You can read more about our work at Lucy Brown House here.
  3. Your favourite gardening activity?
    Matt: Raising the canopy – so mindful. Let me explain. The canopy of a forest is the uppermost layer of foliage. Now, that canopy, forms a layer. But nature, being messy, wonderful does not stay in one place. This canopy is not really one layer. Its spreads all the way down trees and bushes. However, when there are leaves everywhere its hard to make out different plants, to fully enjoy the shapes and form of a garden.To raise the canopy, draw an imaginary horizontal line across a number of tall bushes or trees. Then cut all branches and leaves below that line. This is the slow, mindful element. You’re then left with all the plants’ canopies beginning at the same height. This creates structure and form in a garden – it allows for sense to be quickly made of what you’re looking at.
  4. Your favourite plant?

    Matt: It’s the most common street tree you see in London – the London Plane Tree. Especially around Holborn and Aldwych in Summer, they’re wonderful. I also love that they were planted when London was (more than now) ‘the Big Smoke’, because they could withstand the pollution. Moreover, they eat up the pollution and spit it out in layers. That pollution is what forms their camouflaged-pattern bark.   
  5. What do you get up to when you’re not gardening?
    Matt: Ice-skating -I’m only a beginner but I’m immediately sucked into it. Anyone keen to join?

Please email me at to enquire about a Team Volunteer Day for your organisation.

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