New facilities for disabled gardeners

Volunteers hard at work improving the accessibility of the allotment
Volunteers hard at work improving the accessibility of the allotment

Worthing Allotment Management has used a National Lottery grant and its own funds to make gardening more accessible for disabled residents.

The team, which manages the letting of plots, said applicants with certain kinds of disability, including wheelchair users, could not access ordinary plots as they needed raised beds and these were available only at Humber Avenue.

In addition, a large site at Pages Lane had no toilet, although more families were signing up with younger children, and an area of land had been derelict for years, too stony for growing crops.

The Lottery grant paid for a fully-accessible, composting toilet at Pages Lane, then volunteers set to work using WAM funds to make a set of deep beds.

Rik Pease, site manager, said: ”It was physically very hard work and we had to learn new skills as we went along.

“A small group of dedicated volunteers worked very hard for most of the year to upgrade the whole area.”

They used heavy, 8ft oak beams and filled them with earth and compost recycled from around the site. A line of connected water butts and a set of compost bins completed the scene, so it is easier for everyone to enjoy growing their own food.

Andy Edwards, head of environment at Adur and Worthing councils, said: “This is a welcome result of self-management, with local volunteers able to access funding to improve local facilities that would not be available to local councils.”

Meanwhile, a new gate and pathway have been installed at George V Avenue as the start of an upgrading on that site, which will make another plot more accessible in a different location.

Two of the new beds have already been let. Residents with disabilities who wish to apply should contact the secretary, Paul Eustice, at 50 St Thomas’s Road, Worthing BN1 47JN or email secretary@wamplots .org.uk