At the centre Latest news Community Allotment funded for another year! Dorothy Parkes Centre secures £17,704 funding from Postcode Local Trust for Community Allotment Plot Families, community groups, and volunteers across Smethwick and neighbouring areas will benefit from a Community Allotment Plot project which is continuing thanks to funding from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving trust supported entirely by player of People’s Postcode Lottery. The project, which is led by the Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick, has been running for two years and this grant will see the project continue for a further 12 months. The plot, which is based at Bearwood Road Allotment, has been transformed in the last two years, from an overgrown, underused, vacant plot, into an accessible and safe haven with a Community Classroom, Polytunnel, Greenhouse, Performance Area, and variety of growing beds. The funding will be used to maintain the plot and prepare two specialised areas within the plot for specific use - the creation of a sheltered seating area and a disabled access growing area with appropriate wheelchair ramp. Karen Palmer, Community Allotment Plot Project Coordinator said “This funding will allow us to increase the potential of an already successful project. We will be able to extend the offer of use of our facilities to a wider and more diverse section of our local community. Less able people will be able to genuinely join in and feel a part of the project. Further, people who may just need to sit and enjoy a calm outdoor space, especially because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will have the facilities necessary to socially interact in a gentle way.” The Dorothy Parkes Centre, on Church Road in Smethwick, is a community centre which helps to address local challenges around health inequality, obesity, lack of empowerment of local people, elderly isolation, low educational attainment, and significant unemployment by providing, or hosting, a wide range of activities. Robert Bruce, Chief Executive Officer at Dorothy Parkes Centre said “Our Community Allotment Plot project is a real jewel in our crown and provides us with an opportunity to support our local community with an outdoor space and the opportunity to either enjoy a calm and tranquil environment or help with some digging and planting which results in some lovely produce. It has also proven to be good for mental health during the lockdowns and restrictions and we would encourage anybody who is interested in learning more about allotments and gardening to get in touch with us.” The project is supported by a small team of volunteers, but they are always on the lookout for more and they would welcome and encourage some community groups, particularly around art and culture to get in touch about using the space, which is on offer free of charge. For further details, please contact the Centre on 0121 558 2998 or email [email protected] To see our project in action please see our Facebook page.