A church group in Tipton is celebrating after receiving funds from the National Gardens Scheme (NGS) and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to create a community allotment designed to give local resident’s access to a green space where they can grow their own food.
The new allotment, which is being developed by the St Peter’s Church Group, was made possible by a bursary of more than £2,000 from the gardening charities. The project will breathe new life into a piece of neglected land and transform it into a community space to grow fruit, vegetables and flowers. The food produced on the allotment will be used to feed some of the most disadvantaged members of the community, including the homeless.
The allotment will also provide local schools, who have signed up to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, with an outdoor space from which to teach lessons and encourage students to get involved in gardening.
The St Peter’s Church Group hopes that the allotment will bring the community together, increase environmental awareness and encourage local residents to lead healthier lives.
The bursary, which is named after celebrated garden writer Elspeth Thompson, who died in 2010, will be used to buy a range of plants, trees and garden equipment to help transform the derelict space.
The completion of the project will be marked by the unveiling of a special commemorative plaque to acknowledge the work done by St Peter’s Church and celebrate the legacy of Elspeth Thompson.
Speaking about the award, Father Leonard Cox from the St Peter’s Church, Tipton said: “This grant enables us to progress the project to the ‘next level’ by involving local volunteers and getting food to disadvantaged people in our community. We can’t thank the RHS enough for helping us to help others”
Jim Gardiner, Executive Vice-President at the RHS, said: “The RHS exists to help people of every age and background enjoy the great benefits of gardens and gardening. We’ve known for many years that gardens bring people together and can act as the glue that binds communities. The RHS and the NGS, through the Elspeth Thompson award, are proud to help St Peter’s Church develop their impressive community allotment and bring people together to enjoy the fruits of their labour.”
Penny Snell, Chairman of the National Gardens Scheme, said: “The Elspeth Thompson Bursaries aim to support community projects and include diverse sections of society through horticulture and a community effort. Community gardening was very close to Elspeth’s heart and we are delighted to be able to provide these bursaries in her name in partnership with the RHS.”
The power of gardening to bring people together is at the core of the work the RHS undertakes in communities across the country. RHS Britain in Bloom is the UK’s largest community gardening campaign, involving more than 300,000 people. As part of RHS Britain in Bloom – and its sister campaign, RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood – volunteers in cities, towns, villages, urban communities and neighbourhoods work together to improve their local environment, using gardening as a tool.