Garden offers allot to Saffron Walden community

PUBLISHED: 08:55 30 July 2010

Cheque presentation to Allotment Group.

Saffron Walden.

July 23, 2010.

Photograph by Michael Boyton.

Pic shows: Paul with Allottment Group member (AGM) and helpers.

Names (L-R):

Back: Ian Wallington (progression worker); Harry Cornell (AGM); Juliette Hards (AGM); Carol Strange (AGM).

Middle: Gwenda Loveday (AGM); Andrew Embleton (AGM); Clare Capper (AGM).

Front: Paul Embleton (chairman, Probus Club Saffron Walden); Sue Osborn (progression worker).

Cheque presentation to Allotment Group. Saffron Walden. July 23, 2010. Photograph by Michael Boyton. Pic shows: Paul with Allottment Group member (AGM) and helpers. Names (L-R): Back: Ian Wallington (progression worker); Harry Cornell (AGM); Juliette Hards (AGM); Carol Strange (AGM). Middle: Gwenda Loveday (AGM); Andrew Embleton (AGM); Clare Capper (AGM). Front: Paul Embleton (chairman, Probus Club Saffron Walden); Sue Osborn (progression worker).

Archant

GREEN fingered custodians of a community-based allotment, originally set up for people with learning disabilities, are urging more people to get involved.

GREEN fingered custodians of a community-based allotment, originally set up for people with learning disabilities, are urging more people to get involved.

Staff and service users of Essex Cares have spent a year transforming a plot into a mini haven at the Saffron Walden Town Council-run Byrds Farm in Crocus Fields.

The plot – nicknamed So-and-so – provides a platform for users, many of whom have physical or learning disabilities, to get outside and learn about the environment.

Progression worker Sue Osborn said: “The allotment gives our users an opportunity to access the fresh air and grow their own vegetables. It is also a great way for them to meet new people and work on their social skills.”

Essex Cares was formerly under the blanket of Essex County Council but is now a stand alone support service based at the Saffron Walden Adult Resource Centre in Fairycroft Road.

Although it has to raise much of its own funds, staff have been overwhelmed by the support shown to its allotment project.

“We have had some wonderful donations,” said Mrs Osborn.

“Mencap paid for a shed, the town council has provided a pass along the length of the allotment so we can get wheelchairs up here, and Ridgeons gave us lots of materials.

“The Probus club has been fantastic and given us a cheque for £150 which is a massive help.

“People who run the neighbouring plots have also been brilliant and have helped us out a lot.”

Such is the transformation of the allotment – previously an “overgrown mess” – that it won the most improved category at last year’s Allotment Association Awards held in the town.

Having now settled in properly, Mrs Osborn is hoping to go one better this time around.

“It is my personal goal to win Best Allotment next time,” she said. “It would also be fantastic recognition for all those who have put in the hard work to turn the allotment into what it is today. It would be such a nice thing for them to say: ‘we did it’.”

If any groups or individuals want to get involved with the project they should call Essex Cares on 01799 522496.

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