Worthing Allotments & Gardens Association: Upgraded shop opens at West Tarring allotment site

Worthing Allotments & Gardens Association says it has managed to weather the storm caused by Covid-19 and members celebrated on Saturday with the grand opening of its upgraded shop at the West Tarring allotment site.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 11:24 am
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 12:01 pm

Worthing town crier Bob Smytherman was there to support the association and rally the allotment tenants for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The basic structure of the shop, metal shipping containers, remains but a new roof has been put on, with a canopy at the front.

Mike Tanner, one of the volunteers, said: “After serving us well for many years, the metal shipping containers that provide the structure for our shop were beginning to show their age and were presenting some problems. They were leaking when it rained and got uncomfortably hot in the summer, then in the winter the prevailing south-westerlies and rain were blowing straight into the shop. This was not ideal for storing our seeds, or for our trusty volunteers looking after the shop.

Worthing Allotments & Gardens Association president Ian Dunster is helped by Gracie to cut the ribbon

“The solution was to use the existing structure as a base for a new roof, with a good canopy at the front, so that the doors to the shop can be open in all weathers and people can shelter under it whilst making their purchases.

“WAGA is fortunate in having volunteers with a wide range of skills, and these were needed, as the new roof and canopy had to be designed to show that it was structurally safe.”

Janet Robins, trading secretary, thanked the volunteers Robin Chapman, Jack Powis, Peter Hannam, John Daly, Mike and Angie Tanner, who constructed the roof and canopy. There were some challenges but the roof was completed in ten days.

Mike added: “There was a real sense of achievement in working together so successfully on this project and we hope that WAGA members will enjoy using the shop for many years to come.”

For more than 70 years, the association has supported gardeners towards their goals of growing crops and flowers, and enjoying a creative hobby.

Margo Hollingdale, membership secretary, said: “Back in April 2020, it was recognised that being outdoors was good for mental and physical well-being, so many took to walking and gardening for their one-hour-a-day recreation.

“Those fortunate enough to have large gardens or an allotment were quick to plant more vegetables as doubts about food chains rumbled from supermarket shelves.

“Under normal circumstances, we would be planning towards our annual village show at Oak Grove College but we still hold a key lynch pin with the ability to trade with our members through our three shops at the three largest of Worthing’s nine allotment sites.”

Eight of the sites are now run by a dedicated group of elected volunteers, Worthing Allotment Management (WAM), on behalf of Worthing Borough Council, controlling tenancies and overseeing good working practice on a day-to-day basis.

A WAM working party assisted in construction at the shop, which can be accessed at the southern end of Ringmer Road.

Margo added: “Working in close harmony with one another, WAGA and WAM members have created fantastic improvements to the West Tarring store, which has made it more comfortable to operate under Covid restrictions.

“Supplies for the stores have been difficult to obtain at times but members have appreciated the extra support that the volunteers have given over the past 15 months.”