Ellington gardeners sitting pretty on new benches at community allotments

January 6, 2016 | Brenkley News

Green-fingered users of a Northumberland community allotment project will be able to sit back and enjoy their work more easily thanks to a grant from a regional employer.

The Ellington Allotment Association manages a site off Lynemouth Road in the village that contains 40 plots, all of which are used by local residents to grow a range of fruit, vegetables and flowers.

The allotments were opened in 2013 after the completion of work by a dedicated group of volunteers to transform a piece of land formally owned by Rio Tinto and gifted to the Allotment Association by Ellington Parish Council into its present form.

And now gardeners, local residents and passers by will be able to sit and enjoy the scene after a £750 grant from the Banks Group, via its Banks Community Fund, paid for the purchase of three high quality wooden benches that have been placed around the site.

Ellington Allotment Association was recently named as runner up in the Best Urban Project category of the 2015 LOVE Northumberland Awards, which aim to celebrate the very best in community and voluntary environmental work across the county.

Any spare produce grown at the allotments, all of which are currently occupied, is given away by the gardeners to local residents, neighbours and passers-by.

Eight raised beds were installed at the site to allow older or disabled gardeners to have a piece of land to work, a small number of which are currently available, and there is also a sensory garden created to encourage even more members of the local community to visit the site.

Susan Clark, secretary and treasurer at Ellington Allotment Association, says: “A huge amount of work went into getting the land for the allotments and then making it fit for purpose, but the outcome has already made it more than worthwhile.

“The allotments are always busy, especially at weekends, and because we’re within the village, everyone has the chance to see what’s happening, talk to the gardeners and maybe even sample some of the produce that’s being grown here.

“Adding in raised beds for older or disabled gardeners meant that the project was accessible to the widest cross-section of the local population that we could achieve, and we’re excited to see how things will develop as the site matures in the years to come.

“As a relatively new organisation, we don’t have the money in the bank available at the moment to make purchases like these benches, so we’re very grateful to the Banks Group for their support and know they will be very well used.”

Jeannie Kielty, development relations coordinator at The Banks Group, says: “This is a fantastic project that’s come a huge distance in a very short time, and makes a great contribution towards building real community spirit across the village, so we’re very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to its continuing development.”

The Banks Community Fund provides grants for community groups and voluntary organisations in the vicinity of both operational and proposed Banks Group projects.  Anyone interested in applying for funding should contact James Eaglesham at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.

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