Centre awarded £19,985 to support community allotment project development

The Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick has been awarded £19,985 by the Postcode Local Trust to secure an overgrown allotment plot and transform it into an outdoor community classroom.

The move will enable members of the community to develop life, employability and horticulture skills, improve confidence and participate in physical activity.

The funding will support the transformation stage of the project at the plot which is based at Bearwood Road Allotment and it will allow the centre to employ a Project Coordinator, purchase the relevant tools and equipment and recruit and train volunteers.

The Dorothy Parkes Centre is a community centre based in Smethwick and is accessible to all, and open seven days a week. The Centre aims to help address local needs by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities and services for children and adults. This new project is the first project which the Centre has delivered off site.

The 12 month project is due to begin at the end of October when the new Project Coordinator, Karen Palmer, will begin recruiting volunteers and clearing up the plot before a new design can be mapped out. The draft plans drawn up are for a fully accessible plot with a shed/summerhouse, poly tunnel, and raised beds. The plot will become fully community led after the initial 12 month transformation stage. Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at the Centre, said:

“This is brilliant news because it allows us to run a project which is off site, outdoors, has environmental benefits and educational benefits. We envisage the plot, which is currently in a state of disrepair, becoming an outdoor community classroom which all of the local community can be involved in and reap the benefits which running an allotment plot can bring, including improved mental and physical health.

“We are under no illusions that this will involve a lot of hard work and there will be blood, sweat and tears throughout this journey but it would not be possible without this funding from Postcode Local Trust, so we wholeheartedly thank the trust and the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for this opportunity.”

Anybody who would like to be involved and support this project is asked to contact the Centre on 0121 558 2998 or by emailing admin@dorothyparkes.org.


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