Grants help green fingered allotment groups
Three County Durham allotments are seeing major improvements, as the first beneficiaries of a new grant scheme.
The sites, in Newton Hall, East Stanley and Kip Hill were awarded funding by our council from its Allotment Improvement Fund.
The money will help with the installation of new drainage, repairs to footpaths, the purchase of shared heavy-duty machinery to help plot holders, and the clearance and fencing of vacant plots so they can be let out to new tenants.
Who can apply?
Twice a year our council allocates funding to allotment associations to support work aimed at maintaining and improving the sites. To be eligible to apply, groups need to contribute match funding to the grant from their own funds or by undertake the improvement work themselves.
To celebrate the awarding of the first batch of grants, Cllr James Rowlandson, our council's Cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, visited Newton Hall Allotment Association to see how funding was helping members there.
Funding is being used to trim overgrown hedging to let in more light and repair paths around the almost 90 plots on the site, making it safer for tenants to move around.
For over 50 years, allotment holders have been using the site to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables. Tenants are supported by the allotment's association, a community group which represents and works for its members, helping with a range of activities, from raising funds, to managing the community shed and tool store.
Large scale improvements
Cllr Rowlandson said: "We know how passionate our allotment holders are about their plots. It's obvious how proud individuals are of their sites and how keen they are to keep them in good condition. This fund will allow allotment associations to build on that hard work, enabling them to undertake larger scale improvements which will benefit entire sites.
"The new grant scheme will allocate funds at the end of January and July each year and is available to any allotment association that manages a site in partnership with Durham County Council. Anyone who is interested to find out more can speak to our Allotments Team, who can provide advice and guidance on completing the application form."
Whilst some sites run a waiting list for available plots, spaces are available to rent on allotments across the county.
People wanting to find out more, or to apply for a plot, can visit our Allotments web page.