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Funding win will help older gardeners to blossom again

Seasoned gardeners who face being forced to give up life on the allotment are to get support to keep up their hobby thanks to a brand new project.

Hay Green Allotment Association is to provide new opportunities to older gardeners after being awarded a £5,000 grant from the Selly Oak Neighbourhood Network Scheme.

The Association will work with Bournville Village Trust to provide up to ten raised beds at the Bournville-based allotment for older gardeners experiencing health and mobility problems.

The grant will also fund a store for keeping tools as well as several benches across the eight acre site for ageing members to sit, relax and enjoy a cuppa with their friends.

The raised beds will initially be offered to existing gardeners who wish to downsize, but any not taken will be offered to residents in the area.

Richard Trengrouse, Chair of Hay Green Allotment Association, said: “Allotments have changed a lot over the last 20 years and at our allotment we have members ranging from 86 years old to families in their 30s with children.

“We want to make sure the allotment continues to be a mixed and inclusive community. These raised beds will be very manageable for older members who can’t manage a full or half plot any longer.

“By providing facilities for all, older gardeners can continue to enjoy all the physical and mental health benefits of the allotment and we don’t lose their experience and expertise which can be shared with younger members.”

Arthur Tsang, Director of Communities at Bournville Village Trust, said: “The last 12 months have told us many things about our communities and it’s very clear that gardening is important to so many people.

“It’s brilliant to see a project supporting our older residents to keep doing something they really value as well as inspiring budding gardening of all ages to give it a go.  Access and support can be a real barrier for some and this project offers a really practical way for people to get involved and stay involved.”

Hay Green Allotment, which slopes down from High Heath Close off Heath Rd to Woodlands Park, is one of three allotments across Bournville and was established in the 1920s by Bournville Village Trust.

It is made up of 80 plots and features woodlands and wetland which are a haven for wildlife. The allotment also has a number of paths which are walked for exercise and look at the views over to Warley Woods, some four miles away.

Bournville Village Trust, founded in 1900, is a community-based housing association and registered charity. Its mission is to create and sustain communities where people can thrive.

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