AN allotment group with its roots in the community is in the running for an award.
The staff, volunteers and helpers at the Waverley Allotment Group in Hartlepool have been hailed as “an inspiration” for helping people to develop a scheme which has become a huge success.
Its work has become so influential, it has prompted supporters to nominate the project for the Pride of Hartlepool awards in the green category.
Team co-ordinator Darran Hutchinson said: “We are over the moon. We want to build on what we have achieved and this is a great way to do that.”
Helen Hayles, the supervisor of the site in Waverley Terrace, said: “We have volunteers and we have service users who come here. Everything we do is partnership work.”
Kate Ainger, who nominated the group, known as WAG, said: “They deserve to be green champions because they do an amazing job of inspiring the local community to take part in gardening activities at their community allotment on Waverley Terrace.
“Not only does this have the advantage of improving the appearance of the area for local residents and visitors, but they have also created a brilliant resource for the community.
“The community garden provides somewhere for people who could not manage an allotment of their own to get outside, get some fresh air, make friends and enjoy gardening.”
WAG was set up in 2006 to provide support for people with mental health issues, and was originally supported by Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, Mental Health Matters and Hartlepool Borough Council.
But despite its original aim, organisers also wanted a project that would not just be about a defined activity for one group of people.
The allotment site developed over the years and now helps even more groups including the vulnerable, socially excluded adults, offenders, those with a history of substance misuse, and people with a learning disability or a mental health need.
Other agencies including Hartlepool College of Further Education, Hartlepool Mind, Disc, HMP Kirklevington Grange prison and independent allotment holders are now involved.
People can buy plants, fruit and vegetables from it and WAG is now so popular, up to 60 volunteers now work there in the summer months.
It becomes the latest in an ever-growing list of entrants for this years’s awards which will close to entries after February 27.
Anyone still wanting to enter should submit their applications before that date.
The Pride of Hartlepool awards are split into ten categories.
Whether you know a fantastic fundraiser or a community stalwart, we want to hear all about those who deserve praise and have done something special.
Simply fill in the form on this page and send it to us or enter online or on tablet by following the links.
Details of how to get them to us are on the nomination form. The deadline for entries is February 27.
Anyone wanting further information about the Pride of Hartlepool Awards should contact the Mail’s deputy editor, Gavin Foster, on (01429) 239372 or email email@example.com