Big Dig builds community spirit
Published by Dani Millward for Quicksilver PR in Housing and also in Communities
Volunteers digging new plots in the Mansfield site
A piece of overgrown land in Meden Vale, Mansfield is helping to transform the lives of local people, giving them a chance to stay active by growing their own flowers and vegetables.
A second all-day ‘Big Dig’ at the Welbeck Colliery allotments saw local volunteers once again clearing weeds, digging new plots, planting fruit and vegetables, painting fences and removing rubbish to create new allotments for gardeners.
The site is owned by asra Housing Group, with staff invited by the Welbeck Allotment Association to come and join local residents on the day.
The scheme aims to enhance the lives of local residents, encouraging them outside and to stay active by maintaining the plots and keeping to healthier lifestyles. A new chicken coop is also planned to be onsite, giving the opportunity to look after chickens and take home freshly laid eggs.
Sally-Anne Underhill, Service Delivery Manager at asra Housing Group, said: “It was great to be asked back by the association and our willing volunteers once again made a real difference.
“We are now looking at further funding opportunities to clear more of the site to encourage even more people to grow their own fruit and veg. There is plenty of enthusiasm and we’re seeing more interest and community spirit as people get behind the scheme.”
This Big Dig followed a previous effort last September to breathe new life into unused and overgrown allotments, which has since seen an increase in plot holders. Approximately 30 plots have so far been taken and worked on, with the number expected to double as the site is cleared.
Local school children from Eastlands Junior School also helped with the tidying and planting of vegetables. The scheme has donated a plot to the school in order to help teach the children about gardening and nutrition.
Judith Wood, a teaching assistant from Eastlands Junior School, said: “It was an educational experience for the children. We took 12 students from our garden club to learn where fruit and vegetables come from and help plant new produce. They also got to try new fruit that they’d never even seen before, such as gooseberries and blueberries.
“The children took home vegetables, along with menu planners, to learn more and find out what they can make with the food. Local residents were also fantastic at welcoming the children and we plan to visit more often to continue helping out.”
With the increase in allotments, even more gardening enthusiasts are needed to take on the extra plots now available.