Constable Community Allotment, run by Friends of Constable Street Field and based in Hull, encourages local residents to come together and foster community spirit.
Members help to maintain and expand the allotment area, growing flowers and vegetables, whilst meeting other residents and socialising. Project members cook and share the food they’ve grown together, building social connections in the local community. Project lead, Lausanne Tranter said: “New faces are always welcome and offered a hot drink, as well as a chance to speak to other members. This has enabled our members to integrate well and build lasting friendships.”
The neighbourhood is based in an area that experiences significant disadvantage. Lausanne explained: “There is a lot of rented accommodation and insecure housing. Many people are unemployed, especially young adults, leading to social isolation and mental and physical health issues. We hope that by becoming part of this project they will gain the skills and confidence to find employment in something they enjoy doing.”
Weekly workshops and educational sessions support volunteers to develop their gardening skills and knowledge. Lausanne said: “A committee of local residents oversees the activities, although all members are encouraged to suggest ideas as to how the allotment site develops. Members have really gained a sense of ownership. They also choose which crops we should grow each season. So far, we’ve had watermelons, aubergines, kiwi, figs, pumpkins and squashes. Next year we will try grapes!”
The project also provides after-school sessions for local children, as well as additional social events for the whole community. Lausanne added: “We are pleased to offer a safe environment where children are shown appreciation of the environment and respect as well as learning valuable life skills and making new friends.”
“When children are working alongside adults it builds a connection and sense of respect between the generations. Some elderly people in the area have expressed fears of younger people and we hope to address this issue. Growing food is a good way to unite people as we all need to eat. We are now able to hold pizza sessions on site and plan to invite local residents, as well as our usual members to improve community relations.”
Project member, Nicky, said: “I joined the project with my family a couple of years ago. I love how it has brought the local community together. I am able to enjoy quality time with my children in a safe, friendly environment, as well as get involved with a variety of fun activities. We have learnt how to sow seeds and plant flowers. I am also involved with helping to run social events. Our house also backs onto the allotment, which is convenient and reassuring for me as a parent.”
For the first time this year, the group entered the allotment into ‘Hull in Bloom’, a competition organised by Hull City Council. Lausanne said: “To our great surprise, we won three awards - one Gold for ‘Best Wildlife Garden’ and two Silvers for the ‘Best Community’ and ‘Best Allotment’. Everyone involved in the project has been over the moon, and we are so pleased that our hard work has been recognised in this way.”
Constable Community Allotment has been funded by the Trust with money raised through The Health Lottery in Yorkshire and the Humber.
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