Allotments spring into life with massive support from community

Progress: The autism allotments are taking shapeProgress: The autism allotments are taking shape
Progress: The autism allotments are taking shape
A PROJECT to create a new plot of ‘autism allotments’ in a Rotherham community has taken a big step fowards, with 20 tonnes of rubbish now cleared from the site.

Early work to install a hut, which will be used as base for autism support group meetings, as well as training courses, has also begun, using cash from a £5,000 grant, as well as £1,300 raised through crowd funding.

Hundreds of trees and wild flowers have gone in at the site, on Togo Street in Thurnscoe, where five allotment plots are now occupied.

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Progress is down to fund-raisers Paul and Michael Atwal-Brice, parents to two sets of twins, Livi and Lucas, teenagers who attend the Robert Ogden School due to autism and Lotan and Lanson, who are younger.

The couple took steps towards creating the new garden area, specifically to provide a calm environment for those with autism, due to concern over the lack of similar facilities.

They have taken over land at Barnsley Council’s Togo Street allotment site and have been supported by the council and those on ‘community payback’ work schemes to achieve the current progress.

Originally, they took on two allotment plots, but that is now expanded to five, creating space for a sensory garden with raised beds, a wildlife area and more conventional allotment space for growing fruit and vegetables, with the log cabin to be installed later this month as a base for other activities.

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Michael said community members had been highly supportive, raising £1,200 with an Easter raffle. A Crowdfunder page is now up to £1,300, with a target of £5,000.

A big goal is to get paths installed, to allow wheelchair access around the raised beds.

Michael said they were hoping a local company might be able to step in to either help with that work, or provide sponsporship.

"We are now really craving to get the paths in as we need to make it accessible to everyone.

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"We are hoping local companies might help, but we will also apply for grants if we need to.

"Although it is autism allotments, we have said we will never turn down anyone if they want or need to use it,” he said.

Find the crowd funding page at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/autismallotments

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