Hours of graft is worth the effort

AN army of green-fingered volunteers has racked up nearly 800 hours together to help the continued harvest of a town’s community allotments this year.

More than 20 regular volunteers gave up their time for the Green Patch in Valley Walk, Kettering, from January to March.

Community development manager Nikki Glazebrook said: “It’s helping the community to help themselves to come down and run it for other local people.”

The volunteers weed the two-and-a-half-acre allotments, grow vegetables and help care for the chickens, which provide fresh eggs to nearby homes.

They also help with the holiday clubs, after-school clubs and gardening lessons with pupils from the town.

Up to 30 able-bodied and 14 disabled children have been weeding, pond dipping, tending the vegetables and learning about the environment during the Easter holiday.

During term-time the project, which is funded by Groundwork, gives pupils from schools across the town, including Kettering Buccleuch Academy and Kettering Science Academy, the chance to get their hands dirty and study biology and the environment in a practical way.

It also offers complementary education to children not in mainstream education.

Mr Glazebrook said: “It’s fantastic, really, to think that local people can use a community project like this and it be run through local people. It’s a big benefit to the community. They come down and grow vegetables and meet other members of the local community.

“It’s a sense of belonging and they are getting out in the open.”

The project provided work experience for unemployed youths until the Government’s Future Jobs Fnd was cut in 2010.

Members of the community also use about 100 allotments next to the Green Patch.

People volunteer on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Based on an hourly rate of £11.09, the 785 hours worked by the volunteers adds up to £8,705.65.

To get involved with the project call 07515574516 or email nikki.glazebrook@groundwork.org.uk.