Ideal for All


Community agriculture initiative regeneration underway

trioIdeal for All has started work on regenerating the Barlow Road Community Agriculture Initiative. The work is being funded with grants totalling £183,000 awarded by the Landfill Communities Fund by The Veolia Environmental Trust and the Cory Environmental Trust in Britain, St. Modwen Environmental Trust and the Forestry Commission funded Big Tree Plant scheme.

Phase one has started and it marks the first steps in the complete regeneration of the derelict part of the former Wood Green Allotments site in Wednesbury, which has been a grot spot and local eyesore for over 15 years. The works will achieve the complete clearance of the overgrown and abandoned land, including the disposal of all rubbish, to leave the land in good condition before the onset of winter.
Over the next two years this abandoned 1.2 hectare site will be developed as a fully accessible community agricultural garden space and public amenity. It will include a model market garden, community and children's gardens, and wildlife features.

The local community and volunteers undertook work on the site earlier this year to restore and replant an ancient internal hedgerow, which dates back to at least the 1880s. Other environmental and landscaping improvements will continue over the winter months.
This project will enable people in the north of Sandwell, and in neighbouring Black Country boroughs, to get involved in food growing and gardening in a fun and practical way, to suit their interests and abilities. It will work with teachers, parents and local communities to promote school, home and allotment gardening.

Carol Goff, Chair of Ideal for All said: “We are truly thankful to our generous funders for helping us to realise our vision of regenerating the derelict site. The project will encourage individuals and groups to learn about growing food, cooking and eating fresh and seasonal local produce. The model we have developed with our other gardens in Oldbury and Smethwick will continue in Wednesbury. Our work aims to promote the health and environmental benefits associated with gardening and food growing. One of the next steps will be to get local people involved in developing a vision and a master plan for the site.”

The Executive Director of The Veolia Environmental Trust, McNabb Laurie, added, “It’s great to see this project to revitalise this forgotten corner of Wednesbury get underway. It will engage volunteers and improve the urban landscape and I look forward to seeing it develop and sampling some of the vegetables that are grown.”

Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary, Cory Environmental Trust in Britain commented, “The work that Ideal for All does to transform derelict and underused land back in to productive amenities for the community is wonderful, particularly the way in which the organisation utilises the manpower of people from all walks of life and with a wide range of abilities. CETB is delighted to be contributing to this worthwhile project and is looking forward to seeing it come to fruition over the coming years.”

A launch event to mark the first phase of works on site was held on Tuesday 11 September. For more information about the site or to get involved please contact Helen Sneyd or Veronica Barry on 0121 558 5555.

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