Lotto allotments joy at Smethwick project gets £17,000 funding

Allotment plot holders in Smethwick are celebrating a Christmas bonus – a £17,000 lottery windfall.

Celebrating are Karisse Evans, Christina Strong and her daughter Erin Richards, aged 4, and Robert Bruce
Celebrating are Karisse Evans, Christina Strong and her daughter Erin Richards, aged 4, and Robert Bruce

A community centre secured the funding towards its community allotment plot.

The Dorothy Parkes Centre, on Church Road, received the money from Postcode Local Trust, a grant giving trust supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.

Families, community groups and volunteers will benefit from the allotment project which is continuing for a further 12 months.

The plot, which is based at Bearwood Road Allotment, has been transformed in the last two years, from an overgrown, underused, vacant plot, into an accessible and safe haven.

Volunteers have helped build a community classroom, poly tunnel, greenhouse, performance area and a variety of growing beds.

Funding will be used to maintain the plot and prepare two specialised areas to create a sheltered seating area and a disabled access growing area with an appropriate wheelchair ramp.

Calm

Karen Palmer, community allotment plot project coordinator, said: "We will be able to extend the offer of use of our facilities to a wider and more diverse section of our local community.

"Less able people will be able to genuinely join in and feel a part of the project.

"Further, people who may just need to sit and enjoy a calm outdoor space, especially because of the Covid-19 pandemic, will have the facilities necessary to socially interact in a gentle way.”

The centre, on Church Road, helps to address local challenges around health inequality, unemployment and isolation by hosting a wide range of activities.

Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at Dorothy Parkes Centre said: “Our Community Allotment Plot project is a real jewel in our crown and provides us with an opportunity to support our local community.

"With an outdoor space and the opportunity to either enjoy a calm and tranquil environment or help with some digging and planting which results in some lovely produce.

"It has also proven to be good for mental health during the lock downs and restrictions and we would encourage anybody who is interested in learning more about allotments and gardening to get in touch with us.”

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