Last year when the land the farm used to graze was sold for development Wellgate Community Farm was granted a lease of the land at Bagley Springs, Marks Gate from the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, to use partly for grazing and to restore the allotments for community use.
With the support of local developers work has been carried out to:
- remove the jungle of nettles and brambles that had completely taken over
- clear mounds of rubbish that had been dumped over the years
- repair the boundary fencing to secure the site
A suitable stock fence has already been put up and the grazing area seeded ready for the animals to enjoy in the summer. So much work has already been done but now we need to get the support of the community to get this project really up and running!
With lots of families, young children, teenagers and the elderly living in several blocks of flats, Marks Gate is isolated from the rest of the borough by the A12 and remains within 10% most deprived areas areas in the UK. There are problems of economic disadvantage, social exclusion and lack of community resources.
The new allotments will provide a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to gain some outside garden space, grow their own vegetables, learn about healthy foods, sustainability and organic gardening. It will provide people with the chance to work together to build a community amenity. As well as opening the opportunity to existing community groups the Farm will be encouraging individual people to take on plots and get together with neighbours and friends to share the work and the fruits of their labour!
Two local schools, which can access the allotments from their own site, have already expressed an interest in having plots to provide an outdoor classroom space which could be used for food growing with the children as well as lessons in everything from science to art!
Exciting times! However, the Farm is also aware of the many barriers that may prevent people from getting involved; accessibility for all, lack of knowledge, cost of tools, equipment and seeds, lack of storage for such equipment and more.
To overcome some of these barriers, provide some initial startup costs and get people started we are crowdfunding for:
- A communal tool store complete with shelving and sets of tools and wheelbarrows for plot holders to freely borrow
- A rotavator to help break up any compacted areas
- Start up packs that include: gloves, seeds, basic fruit & veg growing guides, seed trays, labelling sticks and a bag to put it all in!
- Additional protective equipment
- Padlocks to keep everything secure
- Grass seed to make pathways between plots.
- Signs for the gate and a community notice board.
- Contribution towards the first years water and insurance cost
The Farm itself began life in 1982 on a piece of wasteland used as a builders tip and is now home to a wonderful variety of farm animals and wildlife with a farm yard, small horticultural plot, shop, picnic site and conservation area. It is well used by the community through visiting, volunteering or participating in one of the many services we provide.
From wasteland to thriving community asset... we've done it before and with your help we can do it again!
*IMPORTANT...a little can go a long way...please read on!*
Your contribution is essential to get things started. If we are successful in our Crowdfunder campaign it will enable us to demonstrate to other funders the support this project has from the community, verifying both the desire and the need for such an amenity. This extra funding would provide staff time to not only give regular support to plot holders, through workshops and simply by being on site, but also to develop an area as a community garden with raised beds. The community garden will allow those wishing to be involved, but not able to take on their own plot, the opportunity to volunteer with support as needed. This experience will benefit participants whether it be from the satisfaction of giving something back to the community or the opportunity to socialise and make new friends.
Staff will also be able to work with the community to link people together, perhaps encouraging the older generation to share their knowledge with younger less experienced people, who may have lots of energy! The staff will plan community events to showcase the work and bring people together, as well as maintain the communal areas and secure the site.
Please help us to turn this idea into a reality and this wasted land into a much needed resource.
A little may really go a long way, so we would be most grateful for whatever you can afford!