When an allotment’s paths were washed away by a series of floods, the allotment association turned to Tesco for help.
Plas Road Allotments in Holyhead have had some bad luck over the years. After being hit by three floods in three years, just getting around the steep sloping site was a challenge.
“The water just ran from the top of the road down through the gardens” said Linda Mulligan, allotment holder. “It made the paths so dangerous. You could break your neck on some of the paths!”
The seventy-five allotments also had no car park, which meant that cars often blocked the road. The allotments are popular, with a real mix of ages growing food on the site. The lack of access made it difficult for all allotment users, but especially so for older people, children or people with disabilities. There was an idea to link up with local schools so that children could learn about growing food, but it was impossible with the state of the site after the floods.
Bags of Help
“Luckily Tesco stepped in and helped us” says Linda. “When we got the Tesco grant we were over the moon!”
The grant has meant that the allotment now has a new all-weather road leading to the site, new paths around the plots and a dedicated car park.
“It’s made such a difference, it’s tidy, you can walk right round the allotments now.” says Mary Kitching, Community Champion at the local Tesco Extra store, who has helped with the project from the start.
“We knew then it would be lovely to get children up there – it’s such a beautiful place, right at the top of Holyhead, you can see for miles! And they grow blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries… whatever you can think of they can grow up there.”
A space to learn
“I love it, it’s great being involved from the start, and the whole thing just snowballed, it's a win-win, great for the community and great for Tesco, It’s quite a nice little job I’ve got really!”
Mary helped organise visits to the allotment from local schools over a six week period. The children spent an hour walking around the allotment, learning about food and tasting crops, before then visiting Tesco to see produce in the store.
“Amazingly, lots of children didn’t know where all sorts of food came from. It was extremely beneficial, it went down a storm with the kids and we ended up having to turn schools down!”
Over 400 children from local schools came and visited the allotment. It’s based in a deprived area with one of the highest percentages of pupils claiming free school meals in Wales.
More recently, a group of disabled children and adults have also begun to attend – something that would have been impossible before the site improvements. A plot has been put aside for them that includes a large shed and table to sit round, and it’s being made fully accessible for people with disabilities.
Mary is full of praise for the project and the Bags of Help scheme:
“I love it… it’s great being involved from the start, and the whole thing just snowballed… its a win-win, great for the community and great for Tesco, It’s quite a nice little job I’ve got really!”
The grant will benefit the allotments for many years to come, with the site much improved. But there’s still one thing that Linda wishes she could change – the weather! Just as the allotment began to recover from the flooding, the site was hit by Storm Doris which damaged many of the sheds and greenhouses. Fundraising is now underway to replace them with sturdier structures that can withstand the elements.
Your community can also benefit from a Bags of Help grant.