The Volunteer Centre North Warwickshire’s Allotment Project has been recognised in this year’s town council’s Allotment Awards.
The project which grows fruit and vegetables for the benefit of local people was awarded a certificate for Community Consideration.
Three of the volunteers went along to a special presentation evening at the Atherstone Town Council Chamber.
The project has been going for five years and is led by volunteer Alan Joynson. Each year quality produce is grown which is either used in the centre’s volunteer run White Hart Tea Room or given to the local food bank.
The plot of land just off Bracebridge Road in Atherstone has gone from strength to strength starting out as just mud and turf.
Alan says “When I first saw the plot years ago, it looked as big as a tennis court. I didn’t think we would be able to fill it, but we have. It’s great that someone has looked at the land and how we have transformed it and found it deserving of an award”
Alan and his team, which includes Matthew Carter and Robert Anderson spend three afternoons a week at the allotment keeping it weed free and harvesting the produce.
Matthew has been volunteering for nearly two years. He says “I really enjoy the work I do. It’s nice that the town council have recognised the project, making all the hard work we put into it worthwhile. It makes us feel valued when someone takes the time to thank you for what you do.”
This year the volunteers have grown massive cabbages and carrots and are looking forward to putting up some impressive leaks.
Matthew says “I have had a few issues to deal with. Helping at the allotment has really helped me; I find it relaxing and therapeutic. It keeps my mind occupied and I have definitely felt much better since I started volunteering”
Robert says “I prefer working outside than in, and this type of volunteering opportunity has given me the chance to do just that. We put the work in, but we also have our tea breaks and our chats which I enjoy”
Three years ago Barclays Bank funded, and sent a group of employees to put up the polytunnel. It has been really useful and the team would like to get another one
“Alan says it was great to get the tunnel up. It provided much needed protection from the bad weather during the winter months, enabling us to continue teaching volunteers about growing their own produce. If we can find more funding we would love to get another one. If anyone can help out or has an unwanted polytunnel they can donate, please get in touch”
The project works with people from all backgrounds and has seen many come and go over the years. They have benefited by using the experience to boost their self-confidence, find employment and learn new skills.
The allotment team are always looking for new people to join them. If you would like to volunteer or find out about other volunteering opportunities in North Warwickshire, give Martin a ring on 01827 717073 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit the centre’s website www.vcnw.org.uk.