This award is given annually for an outstanding community initiative by an allotment society that has benefited the society and/or the wider community. This year two entrants were of such high quality, matching the criteria required, that for the first time joint winners were declared: East Barnet Allotment & Gardens Association (Cat Hill) and Bells Hill Allotment Society.
East Barnet Allotment & Gardens Association
At its Cat Hill site, the society has done much to create additional facilities for the benefit of their members and the local community.
Land has been reclaimed and brought back to life by Your Choice Barnet, a group of young adults with learning difficulties. This group are building and renovating attractive structures and progressively turning fallow land into a cultivated plot. The young adults are proud of their achievements and the allotment experience is proving beneficial.
The society built a series of raised beds initially to help older allotment members continue allotment gardening. In addition they now have three different external groups making good use of the raised beds. They have gone to great lengths to make them fully accessible and it was a joy to see such positivity to allowing non-tenants onto their site.
The Bells Hill Allotment Society
The management team have done a lot of things generally to make Bells Hill a welcoming community site.
In the last 12 months they have created additional facilities with raised beds and seating area, a lovely green space at the top of the site, which is specifically for SENSE – a charity for people with complex disabilities, so that they can bring people in to enjoy a bit of gardening and relaxation in a safe space.
A former overgrown space has been reclaimed with a newly planted orchard and a location for an enlarged apiary. Along with a communal greenhouse these initiatives provide a source of products for all to enjoy.
They host 30 to 40 local teenagers for one or two days a year – giving them an opportunity to do some voluntary work around the site and learn more about where their food comes from!