Take this site and make it Evergreen!
Published by Lucy Bradwell for The Regenda Group in Housing and also in Communities, Education, Environment
The partnership celebrates the new Evergreen allotments
An area of wasteland in the heart of Oldham has been transformed into a community allotment thanks to a project managed by North West housing provider The Regenda Group.
Verity Mason, Neighbourhood Team Leader at Regenda said: “This is an area of land on our Limehurst Village estate which has attracted vandalism and fly-tipping over the years. Now, thanks to the partnership which we have formed with Oldham Community Payback, the Youth Inclusion Project, Youth Services, Oldham College, social enterprise JL Training and Oldham Council, we have been able to convert this derelict site into a fantastic resource for the community.”
The partnership was formed in January 2012 and has spent six months transforming the site. Plans were drawn up identifying areas for seed beds, a shed and a greenhouse. The land was cleared where it had become overgrown by the Oldham Community Payback team, a tap was installed to provide water on site and raised beds were built and planted up with salad crops, beans and carrots. Working with JL Training, the young offenders are using the experience to work towards an Ed-excel Land-based Studies Award at entry level 3, which is accredited by Oldham College.
Ruth Burnley, Restorative Justice Co-ordinator from Positive Steps Oldham said, “Young offenders are making a positive contribution to community life in Oldham. Over the last six months the Oldham Youth Offending Service has helped provide a community allotment for local residents of Limehurst as part of ‘Giving Back’. This has involved working alongside the Prevention Services and Green Space to paint walls and clear the Evergreen site. The project has been hard work but rewarding for all the young people involved and has definitely benefited the local community and will continue to do so in the future.”
During the initial stages the Youth Inclusion Project and Youth Service worked with Year 11 students from the Oasis Academy to teach the young people the value of growing your own produce and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Funded by the Prince’s Trust as part of the Community Space Challenge the project aimed to bring together older and younger people to strengthen the community.
A graffiti artist was also invited to the site. With help from the young people the walls were cleaned up and then decorated, providing a colourful backdrop to the vegetable beds.
The partnership has been so successful that it will continue to work together in future and is currently investigating opportunities for new sites across Oldham and Rochdale.
The Regenda Group is a leading housing and regeneration organisation, with 13,000 properties across the North West providing homes for more than 25,000 people.