Abandoned allotment transformed into community garden

Al Hill of Groundwork (4th left) and members of the Burnside Community Allotment Society, Houghton, who have received funding for their community gardens.
Al Hill of Groundwork (4th left) and members of the Burnside Community Allotment Society, Houghton, who have received funding for their community gardens.
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A FORMER abandoned allotment is set to blossom with the help of a community garden project.

The scheme, at Burnside Allotments in Houghton, is to be transformed by the “Green Activity” drive.

Supported by Groundwork North East, a charity which organises initiatives to improve neighbourhoods, skills and job prospects, the programme is part of a wider drive to encourage residents to restore run-down spots blighted by vandals and fly-tippers.

Green-fingered volunteers have also been learning new skills at horticulture workshops, as well as forming a management committee to take ownership of the allotment in the future, and were recently awarded £500 by property firm Gentoo to develop the site. Claire Hutchinson, a senior project officer at Groundwork North East, said: “There have been some very keen and willing volunteers that have come together and are now looking to create a lasting future for the allotments.

“In recent months, they have formed a management committee and they have just applied for their first grant with Gentoo.”

After becoming an established organisation and setting up its own a bank account, supported by Groundwork, the group was given the backing of Gentoo Aspire.

Carol Thompson, the site’s treasure, said: “Groundwork North East’s allotment project has made a positive change on this once abandoned site.

“It has brought like-minded local residents together and has helped to unite the community.

“It is fantastic news that we have now been awarded our first grant, something we are all really pleased about.”

The project includes a 10-week courses of “Green Activity” sessions delivered at community allotments across the city.

For more information or to get involved in the scheme, call 567 2550 or email claire.hutchinson@groundwork.org.uk