Ideal for All

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Mayors Visit to Salop Drive

The Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Geoff Lewis, visited Ideal for All’s Salop Drive Market Garden today for the public launch of ‘Growing Healthy Communities: A community agriculture strategy for Sandwell.’

Sandwell has long held a dream to create a greener, more productive environment for its citizens.  The pioneering Strategy, the first of its kind in the UK, was commissioned by Sandwell Primary Care Trust on behalf of Sandwell Partnership and Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

The foresight shown by local people and their organisations over many years, combined with the success of Ideal for All’s award-winning Growing Opportunities programme and its Salop Drive and Malthouse Gardens, celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, shows what can be achieved in turning previously derelict land into welcoming, productive, and accessible green spaces for gardening and food growing.

The Strategy will help drive forward and secure the future of community agriculture in Sandwell, ensuring good co-ordination between initiatives, and significantly contributing to improvements in people’s experiences of health and well being

The Mayor of Sandwell, Councillor Lewis, spoke at the launch saying,

Sandwell is an unexpected place to find such enthusiasm for gardening and food growing initiatives. Yet this is just the kind of place where it is most needed, to support and enable people to improve their environment, live healthier lives, and enjoy a better sense of inclusion and well being. Salop Drive Market Garden, Malthouse Garden, and many other initiatives across Sandwell, show what can be achieved when local people and their organisations have a vision of what they want to achieve, and work together to achieve it. But there is still more to do, and more people and communities in Sandwell that could benefit from an extended community agriculture initiative, building on the considerable learning and experience of the last 10 years.  With this in mind, I am delighted to learn that Sandwell has now developed and adopted ‘Growing Healthy Communities: A community Agriculture Strategy for Sandwell’, to guide and drive forward new initiatives that will reach more people, in more places, and bring in more resources to support them.

Mr. Richard Nugent, Chair of Sandwell Primary Care Trust, also gave a short address, commenting that

The PCT is happy to support and endorse the Growing Healthy Communities Strategy.  With childhood obesity in Sandwell reaching 25% among some age groups, it really is true that you are what you eat, now more than ever.  Community agriculture helps people and communities to live healthier lives, to participate more fully in community life, achieve independence, learn new skills, and it contributes to creating green spaces, which we know are so important for people’s mental health.

Carol Goff, Chairperson of Ideal for All said,

I’m delighted to see borough wide support for the Growing Healthy Communities Strategy. There is now a golden opportunity for people and organisations in  Sandwell to build on what has been achieved in the last ten years, in terms of improving their environment and their health and sense of well being, by developing innovative community agriculture activities and services. I very much hope this will mark the beginning of a new wave of expanded community agriculture initiatives in Sandwell.

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