NICK GARDNER

FOUNDER PROJECT DIRT

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Nick Gardner is passionate about using social media for good. He harnesses the power of the internet to connect like-minded people running social and environmental projects in their local communities.

He is also passionate about conservation and wildlife, and believes everyone should have the opportunity to experience the beauty in nature. Having studied Environment & Development at Cambridge University, Nick has been involved in a range of international conservation projects, including a coral reef conservation programme in Indonesia. Subsequently he began to teach primary school children about the biodiversity and conservation importance of coral reefs.

Following a brief early career as a youth and community worker, he knuckled down to building a career in economic development and urban regeneration. Evaluating major government and Lottery programmes of community investment led Nick to set up a social networking platform to make stronger links between those running grassroots environmental projects. The idea was to enable sharing of ideas and good practice, and to help promote & resource the best projects.

With over 2,500 projects, Project Dirt is now the UK’s largest online network of community projects. Project Dirt was selected by the Sustainable Development Commission as a ‘Breakthrough Idea for the 21st Century’; selected as a Deloitte ‘Social Innovation Pioneer’; and a NESTA ‘Innovation in Giving’ award winner.

The Project Dirt team runs community investment and corporate volunteering campaigns for clients wanting to give back to local communities, including Timberland, Skipton Building Society, and Olswang LLP. Nick is an advisor to the GLA on community volunteering, and (along with co-founder Mark) was identified by George Monbiot in the Guardian as one of the most influential green pioneers in the UK.