Ideal for All

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Ideal for All Takes Top Award

Salop  Drive Market GardenIdeal for All have managed to dig for victory by winning a prestigious award for its fully inclusive market garden project.

The Sandwell based charity of disabled people scooped the top honours earlier this month at the Regen West Midlands awards in the Environment and People category, beating off stiff competition from more than 113 entries to win one of the seven prizes.

Ideal for All grew up out of a partnership between Sandwell Council, local health providers and disabled people.

The awards ceremony took place on December 8 in Birmingham. The winner had to demonstrate how it had made a positive impact on places and communities and involvement with people.

It also had to prove a reduced impact on the environment with benefits for the future.

Cllr Darren Copper, Sandwell's Cabinet member for adult services and health, said:

This is fantastic news for this group who've done some real innovative things round getting people back to working the land. I would, on behalf of the council, like to congratulate them on winning the award.

Over a number of years local residents and disabled people have developed Salop Drive Market Garden from a derelict three-acre allotment site. Ideal For All have raisied over £1.5million funding from sources outside of Sandwell. The garden is now a beacon project for Sandwell, promoting a string of public health benefits. The project is now sustained through a mainstream funding from Sandwell Primary Care Trust.

The garden now houses, polytunnels, greenhouses, community gardens, wildlife areas, outdoor beds and mini-allotments.

All of these are designed to be accessible to disabled people. The regeneration of the site provides health benefits for local people in reducing stress, increasing physical activity, weight loss and increased consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.

More than 80 bags of produce a week are delivered on foot to local houses saving up to 9,600 food miles a year.

As the winner Ideal for All took home a cheque for £1,000, which will be ploughed back into the project.

Chief executive of Ideal for All, Naeem Arif, said:

The staff and volunteers are delighted to receive the award, which is a testament to the excellent partnership between Ideal For All, Sandwell Primary Care Trust and local people.

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