Rhondda Cynon Taff Council has secured funding from the Welsh Government, to meet the growing demand for allotments.
The new support package from Welsh Government is designed to increase allotments in areas of Wales where they are most needed.
The restoration programme is due to commence in September 2022 and aims to be completed by March 2023, in readiness for the new growing season. Two sites within RCT will be secured, one at Evans Terrace in Trealaw, and one in Gasworks Road in Aberaman. Also, a section of land at Nant-y-fedw in Abercynon which is currently derelict, will be brought back up to standard, and fit for purpose as a new allotment plot, in line with the remainder of the existing allotment site.
Funding will be used to increase the availability of good quality allotment plots by :-
- Bringing derelict plots back into use
- Improving accessibility
- Improving site security
- Improving site management
- Increase recycling / renewability
- Increase biodiversity / pollinators
As part of this process, we took account the ecological interest of each sites and carried out an assessment prior to any works commencing. This entailed assessing trees, scrub and grassed areas. Any evidence of the presence of wildlife would have been identified and appropriate measures taken to ensure their safety and the preservation of their habitats. During the course of the works commencing, regular visual inspection will also be carried out to make sure no wildlife was disturbed in this process.
While allotment gardens are typically used for growing crops, flowers or as a place for recreation, cultivating the land can not only have a positive impact on the health and well being of individuals living in the area and meet the demand for further allotments; it can also create a refuge for our urban wildlife by providing a food source/ nesting & breeding habitat for a range of pollinating insects, birds, hedgehogs, small mammals as well as reptiles and amphibians.
Research by Social Farms & Gardens was also carried out on waiting lists for allotments, including the numbers of people on them and the length of time people may be waiting. The research revealed a number of sites in Wales where there are large numbers of people on a list, with some waiting years to access a plot. The new funding is aimed to target those areas first.
Gary Mitchell, Wales manager for Social Farms & Gardens, said: “Allotments are part of our heritage. They have been a means for people to provide food and sustenance since the 1800s, but now, perhaps more than ever, we as a society are more interested in where our food comes from and how it is grown.
“Allotments provide an important space for us to control those elements. They provide a boost to our health and wellbeing, are great for adding biodiversity to urban settings and provide a space for social interactions. This funding, support and vision from Welsh Government really will make a difference in the areas we can support.”
“The Welsh Government recognises the importance of allotments, not only as a means to producing affordable food, but for the health benefits they offer to plot holders, for the biodiversity they encourage even in the most urban of areas and for the important part they play in social cohesion,” said First Minister Mark Drakeford.
This funding, supporting one of the First Minister’s priorities to increase allotment provision in Wales, is being delivered through a co-ordinated approach. Based on recent research, it is being targeted on evidence of need.
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