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Stafford and Rural Homes works with residents to restore abandoned allotment plot in Barlaston to its former glory

Residents in a Staffordshire village have restored an abandoned allotment plot to its former glory with the help of Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH).

The land off Brookhouse Drive in Barlaston had become overgrown and neglected until it was adopted by SARH as part of its Growing Health project, developed in partnership with Stafford Borough Council, with support from Stafford and Surrounds Commissioning Hub.

 

It has already seen the transformation of similar plots of disused land in Stafford and surrounding area and has helped to tackle issues such as fly tipping and anti-social behaviour whilst encouraging local residents to improve their health and wellbeing by getting out into the fresh air to grow their own fruit and veg. The project also encourages neighbours band together to tend the plots.

 

During an open day at the Barlaston allotment Laura MacPhee, community involvement officer at SARH, explained: “It’s wonderful to see the expansion of the Growing Health project, which has already helped dozens of people improve their lives.

 

“It now offers the opportunity for villagers in Barlaston to join a growing band of allotment holders that are benefitting from the chance to grow their own healthy food and enjoy some exercise whilst getting to know their neighbours and other members of the community.

 

“Over the winter they’ve all been working hard to ensure the allotments are ready for the start of the growing season and now we're all looking forward to a bumper crop.”

 

Barlaston resident Tim Green says the project has given him the opportunity to put his horticultural skills to good use. The 44-year-old is registered disabled and lives in a SARH apartment. For the past 18 years he has been involved with the Oak Tree Farm rural project, which provides training and supported employment for adults with learning difficulties.

 

“I don’t have the space at home to grow many plants so having access to the allotment has been brilliant,” he said. “I’ve also been able to offer a few others some tips on growing their crops, while I am concentrating on growing plants which will attract important wildlife, including butterflies. Since starting work on the allotment I can see how it has brought different people together from across the village.”

 

The allotments were officially opened by Karen Armitage, SARH chief executive.

 

Anyone interested in tending an allotment can register their interest by completing an expression of interest form on the SARH website www.sarh.co.uk. There may be a waiting list and plots are allocated on a first come first served basis with priority given to SARH customers and those living close to each site.

 

Caption: Karen Armitage, SARH chief executive at the open day event with plot holders Paul Cashmore-Thorley, Emma Mather and her two children Noah and Frida, and Martin Lee.

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