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Swaffham allotment destined for community project

PUBLISHED: 09:40 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 11:26 08 July 2010

AT present it is just a huge patch of nettles but a humble allotment is set to become the heart of a new community project aimed at bringing townsfolk together to learn and socialise.

AT present it is just a huge patch of nettles but a humble allotment is set to become the heart of a new community project aimed at bringing townsfolk together to learn and socialise.

Set in the middle of the Tumblers Hill allotments in Swaffham, the 200ft by 55ft plot will soon be ploughed over before community groups set to work with forks, spades and hoes.

Under the banner of Enjoy Swaffham Community Allotment Project Enterprise (Escape), five town organisations have come together in a bid harness the power of gardening.

Don Saunders, from Swaffham Family Action, said: “This can only help enrich people's lives.

“The key aim of the project is to provide a safe and healthy environment for adults, children and young people to socialise and have fun, engaging in positive activities and learning new skills.

“The project will include individuals, families and groups from the community sharing a sense of purpose and commitment.”

While Swaffham Family Action will take the lead in the project, other organisations including West Norfolk Mind, The Garden Science Trust, The Scouts and Swaffham Junior School will also be involved.

Mark Stanford from West Norfolk Mind said an allotment project the charity was already involved in at Kings Lynn was proving a success.

He said: “Physical activity helps mental activity.

“These allotments will provide a quiet space for people to chill and it is also nice for people to be able to grow things.”

Sheila Mathias, director of The Garden Science Trust, an educational charity based at Swaffham's EcoTech Centre, which works with people with learning difficulties and already uses gardening and science to help people get more out of life, said the new allotment would complement the Trust's existing garden.

“It will help people to learn new skills and play an active part in the community,” she said.

The two plots have been donated for the project on a two year trial basis by Swaffham Town Council.

Town mayor David Harman said the council had been only too pleased to support the initiative.

Organisers plan to pilot low impact sustainable gardening, the highlight of which will be the first communal composting toilet in the area.

It will recycle the waste of other allotment users and turn it into safe, useable compost for the site.

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