Mortimer House Children’s Centre in Bradford Moor is in an area of the district where a range of health problems are prevalent. The need to encourage physical activity and promote a more healthy relationship with food in local families was viewed as key to improving the health of the community.
Good communication and an effective working relationship between the Ward Officer in the Council’s Bradford East Area Office and the children’s centre proved advantageous when the idea of developing an allotment for the centre was raised.
The local allotments at Derby Road, BD3 were not fully let at the time and allocation of a plot was brokered with the Council’s allotment service. The available plots were significantly overgrown and the allotment identified was in a poor state, having not been worked for a long period of time. But the project was up and running.
Knowledge of services and organisations that could play a part was necessary to make progress. The Streetlife Project, Prism, the allotments association for the site, Participate Projects and volunteers from Morrison’s supermarket workforce were pulled together through the involvement of the Ward Officer.
Donations of materials by Bradford East Area Committee and Morrison’s included a potting shed greenhouse, materials for paving, raised beds, a pond complete with a dipping platform and a secure gate.
Participate Projects staff, who work with business volunteers and who have expertise in project planning, coordinated work and timetabled in work days with the volunteers from Morrison’s staff, Streetlife and Prism.
At the end of the development work on the allotment the plot was unrecognisable and a credit to all who had been involved. The Children’s Centre now makes good use of its allotment, working with families and reconnecting people to real food they have had a hand in growing.
An unexpected outcome was the development of a productive relationship with the allotments association members, including working together on an Allotment Open Day and improvements to other parts of the site. This has led to the allotment being fully let and looking better maintained.
To find out whether there’s a similar project near you contact your local Area Co-ordinator’s Office: