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New allotment plot gives older people the chance to grow together

PUBLISHED: 06:30 04 September 2015

Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association working with Beccles U3A to create an allotment for older people with reduced mobility.

Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association working with Beccles U3A to create an allotment for older people with reduced mobility.

© Archant 2015

After months of fundraising and dedication from volunteers, a project to give older people the chance to grow their own fruit and vegetables has got off the ground in Beccles.

Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association working with Beccles U3A to create an allotment for older people with reduced mobility.Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association working with Beccles U3A to create an allotment for older people with reduced mobility.

Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association have been working 
in partnership with Beccles University of the Third Age (U3A) on the Growing Together project since March.

And now 10 new raised beds are sprouting produce at the Common Lane site, ready for older people and those with reduced mobility to get to work on their patches.

Joan Cupples, secretary of Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association, organised the funding and secured the plot with the council.

She said: “With them being raised people can sit on the side or 
bring a chair to do their 
weeding, especially as you get older and have a little arthritis.

Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association working with Beccles U3A to create an allotment for older people with reduced mobility.Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association working with Beccles U3A to create an allotment for older people with reduced mobility.

“It worked out people had done 102 hours of unpaid work to get everything ready, these women 
were barrowing 10 tonnes of soil 
and did it all voluntarily 
because at the end of the day people are good.

“Older people are very isolated and someone has described the allotment as a life line.”

The U3A brings retired and semi-retired people together for life-changing opportunities and 
Growing Together offers land and skills to help community growing groups become financially independent in their project.

John Allport, 78, and his wife Sally, 80, from Beccles, who have each taken on a bed, said: “The basic 
thing is that it has brought together people in friendship.

“As you get older you can’t manage a huge garden and I’ve never had 
an allotment before, it’s just fantastic for me.”

Adnams charity bought the shed for the new plot and donations poured in from Beccles Fenland Charity Trust, Beccles Townland Trust, Beccles Helping Hands and Bernard Matthews Trust.

Thanks also go to local 
firms New Atlantic Country Superstore of Earsham, Sovereign Turf of Woodbridge, the A Shop in Beccles who made the work bench, and B&B Skips.

Mrs Cupples added: “We couldn’t have done it all without the local companies being so generous, donations here and there soon add up and we raised the £2,500 we required.

“And thanks are due to the magnificent volunteers from 
both the Allotments and Gardens Association and the U3A.

“What they have achieved is inspirational.”

Reaping the rewards of unusual plots isn’t a first for the 
Beccles Allotments and Gardens Association, who launched the successful Allotment 4 Kidz venture in 2013, to get school children interested in working outside and growing their own produce.

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