Sheffield community garden scheme bears fruit

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A SIX-MONTH project to create a community allotment in a Sheffield neighbourhood has been officially opened by the city’s Deputy Mayor Vicky Priestley.

The facility was created on derelict land behind Hollinsend Methodist Church, which was formerly a telephone exchange.

With help from Grow Sheffield, an organisation set up to promote local food growing, and grants of totalling almost £8,000, the scheme has become a reality and has already produced 50 kilogrammes of potatoes, runner beans, courgettes plus salad vegetables despite the soaking summer.

Androo Thornton, of Grow Sheffield, said: “Earlier in the year, I was asked to support a local project with food growing.

“I found the Hollinsend Methodist Church and behind their building they had a bit of disused land which was mostly a concrete slab - foundations from the telephone exchange.

“It was not a great prospect for growing veg - but a great place to build a garden for wheelchair or mobility scooter users.”

Five raised beds, which can be tended by people in wheelchairs, were constructed.

Funding initially came from a £2,500 under the Community First scheme - Government money handed out by councils - for materials.

Androo secured a £500 grant for a greenhouse and a further £4,800 was provided by Sheffield University students through the RAG scheme.

He said: “Over the six months of construction, we have had more than 65 volunteers giving over 1,000 hours of time.”

Plans in the coming months include construction of the greenhouse and polytunnels and a rain harvesting scheme.

Even in the winter months, the garden is set to be a hive of activity, with winter salads plants seeded, including red and oriental mustards.