A conversation on Twitter about Lottery funding has prompted me to post these pictures of the small but very welcome lottery funded project at our allotments. The bottom four are from “before” and the top two “after”.
Like many allotments, we had a waiting list but unlike them, we had a patch of waste ground that looks quite pleasant in the “before” pictures, but was in fact a right mess of debris from the site’s former incarnation as a brickworks, fly tipped household rubbish, ash saplings and brambles that had defied various efforts to shift it manually. Furthermore, the top part of the allotments didn’t have a proper road, so in winter or wet weather, cars were getting stuck in the mud and it was difficult for people with limited mobility to access their plots.
I applied for a small grant from Awards for All and six weeks later, we had the good news that we’d been awarded nearly £5,000. A few weeks after that, the contractors were on site, clearing the rubbish to create eight new plots, digging out a new track and filling it with hardcore. New tenants have moved in, including the local primary school.
The funding came from Awards for All, the micro grants strand of the Big Lottery Fund. Unlike a lot of sources of funding, you don’t need to be a registered charity to apply, just an organisation with a constitution and a bank account. If you’re a new organisation or don’t have a constitution, contact your local community service council through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
Organisations can apply for up to £10,000 per year and the form is very easy to complete. Your project needs to meet just one of the four outcomes, but it’s easy to see how allotment projects would fit two or three:
- People have better chances in life
- Stronger communities
- Improved rural and urban environments
- Healthier and more active people and communities
The success of this project has whetted the appetite of my fellow plotholders and plans are afoot to apply again. I would really encourage you to give it a go - it’s not difficult and the staff at the lottery offices are very willing to help.