Older women in the East End’s Bangladeshi community are getting together to grow their own vegetables in a community garden to overcome their isolation.

A project at St Peter’s Parish Church is expanding its gardening club for the women after landing a £36,000 windfall from the City of London’s City Bridge charity foundation.

The club, run by volunteers, is now aimed mainly at older Bangladeshi women, offering them a space to be themselves.

“Many left Bangladesh 20 or 30 years ago and have never had a garden because they live in high-rise tower blocks,” the club’s coordinator Khondoker Kamal-Uddin explained.

“Their children have often now left home and some have even moved out of London, leaving them feeling isolated.

“They can relax at St Peter’s, be themselves, something Bangladeshi women of their generation find hard to do because of cultural or religious reasons.”

Club members like 66-year-old Nahar Begum grow crops commonly used in Bangali cuisine such as bottle gourd, coriander and green chilis.

Nahar said: “This is what keeps me physically and mentally active and healthy. It is a place to socialise and look after plants and vegetables from seedling to harvest.”

Volunteers from St Peter’s also visit the housebound elderly and invite them to the club or deliver plant pots and seeds so they can grow vegetables on their balcony at home.

City Bridge Foundation’s chairman Giles Shilson has observed the “fantastic job” he says St Peter’s has done for almost a decade.

He added: “It has created a ‘safe space’ where older Bangladeshi women can feel at home.

“The women learn about growing food and staying healthy as well as develop a feeling of freedom and independence.”

St Peter’s Bethnal Green, a 19th-century Victorian parish church off Mansford Street, is being supported by the foundation, which is responsible for five London iconic Thames crossings including Tower Bridge and London Bridge.

The foundation is London’s biggest independent charity funder and has invested revenue from its historic mediaeval bridges over nine centuries.

It dishes out £30 million a year to charities like St Peter’s and others across London and is making a further £200m available up to 2026.