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Funding boost for allotment project makeover

London allotment projectThe Brandon allotment project in London, offers people with learning disabilities and autism, the opportunity to grow and harvest their own produce, and then learn how to turn it into delicious meals.

Over the course of an average year, around 50 people supported by Brandon, benefit from the project – getting active, learning new skills, meeting new people, and enjoying the outdoors.

Fifth season

Now in its fifth season, the allotment is going from strength to strength. Thanks to donations from Rotary Beckenham, the Rotary Club Lewisham and Penge, and the Rotary London District, the allotment is preparing for a much-needed makeover, including new greenhouse and shed.

The pandemic meant that we had a slow start to 2021, but thanks to several different Government department volunteer groups, who returned in June, the two plots are now looking great.

The volunteers worked (socially distanced of course), alongside people supported by Brandon, and members of staff, to complete various tasks. They weeded, painted and weather-proofed the handrail, sorted the tools and equipment that had come out of our crumbling old shed, and laid more than 50 wheelbarrows of wood chippings! I walked more than 16,000 steps one day (great exercise!).

Flatpack know-how

John makes sure the shed is levelA couple of months ago, the new shed arrived but it proved slightly trickier to build than I’d anticipated. After several failed attempts – an issue with the hardstanding, a lack of flatpack know-how, and a medical emergency – it is finally up and in use, storing all our valuable tools. This was only made possible with help from John, one of our fantastic support workers, who had the knowledge and tools required for the job. I can’t thank you enough, John!

Sadly, due to lockdowns increasing the popularity of gardening and growing, we’re still waiting for the greenhouse to be delivered. However, we are ready and excited, knowing that it will be in place, in time to start planting seeds in the spring.

Right now, the vegetables and fruits are flourishing in the warm and wet weather we have experienced in recent weeks. We’ve got courgettes, cabbages, rhubarb, carrots (lots of varieties), gooseberries, red and blackcurrants, to mention just a few.

Celebrating and sharing

I’m so proud to be involved with such a brilliant project. It is wonderful opportunity to get outside, now more than ever, and something to be celebrated and shared with as many people as possible. We’re in the process of planning a ‘bring and share’ barbecue to celebrate National Allotment Week in August, and looking forward to harvesting and eating some of our own produce. Here’s to a bumper crop!

Dawn Dacosta 
Area Manager

Get involved

If you’re interested in group volunteering opportunities, there are lots of different Brandon projects you can get involved with. For more information, please email our Fundraising team.