Brain Sciences


How UCL’s new centre for neuroscience is supporting the local community

10 May 2021

UCL has partnered with ISG to deliver a new landmark facility for UCL Neuroscience at 256 Grays Inn Road. As part of our joint commitment to supporting the local community and environment, ISG have delivered a number of community-facing initiatives.

seven people standing in front of food bank collection

Food bank and laptop donation schemes

One of these initiatives is a food bank collection for the neighbouring Calthorpe Community Garden. Located next to the site, Calthorpe Community Garden supports communities by offering access for isolated people to interact in a green space. Its aim is to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of those who live, work or study in the local area. Alongside the garden, Calthorpe offers access to sports and classes.

With COVID-19 and the current economic climate, Calthorpe Community Garden’s services have been dramatically affected financially due to loss in support and fundraising. While the uptake of food bank services has substantially increased, driven by the loss of employment for many, there has been a decline in people regularly using the garden for social interaction. As a result, there has been an increase in those who are now feeling more isolated than ever before.

To support those feeling isolated, ISG also donated three laptops to Calthorpe Community Garden. The aim is to give people an opportunity to access Zoom classes to help them feel better connected and maintain social interaction, and in turn, to support their mental health. 


two people holding food bank deliveries

The team at Calthorpe Community Garden emphasised the huge impact the help will have on the lives of its members.

Mila Campoy, Social & Therapeutic Gardening Programme Manager at Calthorpe, said:

“Thank you very much for your support with both the food bank and the purchase of the laptops. I just wanted to let you and your team know it is going to make a huge impact in people’s lives.”

Creating publicly accessible green space

Supporting the environment and local community are key principles underpinning the development of UCL’s new neuroscience facility. Our aim is to create a calm environment for patients, visitors, workers and residents to enjoy.

Externally, the development will enhance the biodiversity of the site and improve the green infrastructure surrounding the building. The site will provide thoroughfares for both walkers and cyclists, while new landscaped areas will include a sensory garden, a new courtyard and lots of publicly accessible green space.


As part of UCL’s commitment to supporting the local community, we are also developing plans for an extensive programme of public engagement, including:

  • a public art programme
  • ongoing events, exhibitions and performances
  • apprenticeships
  • work experience placements and mentoring schemes for local schools and colleges
  • an outreach programme and educational online resources
  • support for community use of facilities like the auditorium

Additional local benefits include:

  • Clinical care for local people with neurological diseases
  • £10 million added value to the local economy
  • Contributions to local transport, affordable housing and Community Partnership Plans with local charities and organisations
  • The provision of an NHS-run outpatient facility and an MRI scanning facility