GARDENERS in Aylestone have teamed up with the city council to create a new communal allotment plot.
Members of the Rookeries Allotment & Garden Society, based at allotments on Paget Street, have created the plot to help older members who want to carry on gardening but might not be able to manage a whole plot themselves.
The society applied for ward community funding to carry out the project, and was awarded £3,351. Each ward in the city is allocated a yearly budget which can be used to support projects that bring benefits to the local community, with applications considered by ward councillors.
They also put their own funds into the project, and received sponsorship support from local businesses A&J Roofing and Premier Plastering.
The gardeners used the money and sponsorship to create raised beds on a previously overgrown, underused, sloping plot. The raised beds will make it easier for older people to carry on gardening. They also added a shed, greenhouse and seating area so that gardeners can sit and chat.
Committee member Wendy Cook said: “For a lot of our older members, visiting the allotment is as much about the social side as it is about gardening. Our oldest member is 92 and still going strong!
“But we noticed that when people can no longer cope with a full plot, they can drift away. Creating this area means they can still come and socialise and do a bit of gardening without having to commit to a full plot.
“It means we will still get to see our friends and keep in touch while doing the hobby we love.”
Deputy city mayor for environment Cllr Adam Clarke, who is also one of the ward councillors for Aylestone, said: “I’m very pleased to be providing ward community funding for this hugely worthwhile project. We know how valuable allotments are to people and we’re committed to working closely with our allotment societies to keep these important green spaces available for people to enjoy.
“Allotments are an integral part of Leicester’s food plan, providing local produce with zero air miles, as well as supporting our urban wildlife. They have enormous environmental value.”
Assistant city mayor for public health Cllr Vi Dempster added: “This project highlights how beneficial gardening can be to both your physical and mental health. Gardeners here have recognised that getting together to socialise is just as important as the gardening itself, and they’ve come up with a plan to support their older members so that can carry on being a part of their community. What a fantastic cause for us to be able to support.”
The plot has been created after months of work, in time for the allotments’ annual payments to be taken next month. It means that if members do want to give up a bigger plot, these can then be offered to people on the waiting list.
Find out more about allotments across Leicester, including how to apply for one, at https://www.leicester.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/allotments/