Allotment holders plot a fruitful future thanks to £10,000 windfall

Gardeners Tim Wright, Charlie Horton, Bob Redpath and Marina Birkelbach celebrate their grant from the National Lottery. Picture by Tom Banks.
Gardeners Tim Wright, Charlie Horton, Bob Redpath and Marina Birkelbach celebrate their grant from the National Lottery. Picture by Tom Banks.
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An allotment holders have proved they are the pick of the bunch after scooping £10,000 in lotto cash.

Gardeners from the Red Machine allotment site in Humbledon are celebrating after they were awarded the grant from the National Lottery.

It caps a wonderful summer for plot holders, who have harvested bountiful fruit and vegetable crops.

Mark Greenfield

The grant will pay for environmental improvements to the site and will also contribute towards the £13,000 cost of new fencing.

Mark Greenfield, chairman of the Allotment Association (AA), said: “This is a brilliant bit of news for the plot holders and the wider local community.

“It will help us complete the project to renew our internal fencing.

“It caps a wonderful summer for plot holders, who have harvested bountiful fruit and vegetable crops.”

Work is planned to start in late autumn, once the last £3,000 has been raised.

The Allotment Association is to contribute a portion of the balance, but the plot holders need additional funds and say donation, however small, would be appreciated.

Tim Wright, secretary of the AA, added: “We are pleased to have gained this award – which is only made possible by all those who play the National Lottery.

“We would like to thank all of them for their support.

“We also hope our success encourages other community projects to apply for National Lottery funding.”

It is thought the Red Machine Allotments date to at least to 1921, when a public meeting was held at Chester Road Council School to allot the first plots to locals.

The land was once part of Red Machine Farm, which flourished as a dairy farm in Victorian times.

In the 1920s, however, new homes were built on the fields.

Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott welcomed news of the grant and said: “The hard-working plot holders of Red Machine really deserve this.

“Many people use gardening as a way of keeping fit and, of course, growing your own organic fruit and vegetables is also a positive contribution to a healthy lifestyle.

“The Red Machine site has been at the heart of keeping the people of Humbledon and High Barnes happy and healthy for decades.

“Long may its success continue.”