A local community group has taken action to take over the management of a council garden, showing what can be achieved by working ‘better together’.
Located on Delaware Crescent in Kirkby, the garden is a community asset owned by the council and has 23 full sized allotment plots.
Delaware Allotment Garden Association, consisting of 35 members, wanted to develop the garden and enquired about taking ownership in order to progress them.
They prepared a business case and formed a Community Interest Company (CIC) called the Delaware Allotment Community Interest Company.
Health and wellbeing benefits for local people
Phil Green from Delaware CIC said “The group recognised the great opportunities this asset could provide to the local community. Allotment gardening provides lots of benefits to residents – a sense of satisfaction in growing your own products, a purpose to get out and about as well as a boost to your health and wellbeing. We wanted the opportunity to be able to build on these benefits and develop the allotments for everyone to use and enjoy.”
Their bid outlined a range of social, economic and environmental benefits that could be achieved through the company. These included addressing social isolation, providing volunteering opportunities, sharing experience and knowledge with others, improvements to people’s health and wellbeing, creating a sense of achievement in growing your own vegetables (with home grown food tasting better), keeping fit and active as well as financial benefits of growing your own products which are cheaper than many shop bought products.
The business case also outlined the company’s plans for the future which includes the installation of a poly tunnel to promote all-year round growing, raising the soil levels on some plots to improve drainage as well as access for some disabled residents, improving car parking provision, improving access for disabled people.
What is Knowsley Better Together?
Knowsley Better Together brings people and organisations together for the benefit of Knowsley and its residents. There are many examples of this across the borough, but recently, a community group approached the council with a view to taking over the running and management of an allotment site in Kirkby.
Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, added “Delaware CIC presented a very strong business case and the benefits they could deliver were very impressive. By working better together and pooling resources, expertise and ideas, more can be achieved for our residents and this is one example of Knowsley Better Together in practice. I wish Delaware CIC well in taking forward their exciting plans.”
The CIC also have plans to engage with more people across Knowsley including Adult Social Care services, schools and colleges to help develop and deliver a wide range of programmes.
As a CIC, the group can now access a range of funding streams to help further develop the allotment space and maintain it as a sustainable space.
A community asset transfer will now be completed on 1 October 2019. If you would like to find out more, email Delawareallotments01@gmail.com.