THE Waverley Allotment Group is an inspiration to hundreds of people.
And it didn’t take long for the judges in the Pride of Hartlepool competition to be equally inspired by its work.
WAG has become so influential, that more and more groups use its services. It is about to get even bigger.
Team co-ordinator Darran Hutchinson explained: “We are expanding from 1.2 acres to 3 acres. We have just finished off accessible pathways for people who are less mobile.”
He said the extra land gave the project the chance to develop orchards and beehives. It’s all reason why WAG was awarded the Green Champion award.
Darran said the award “made a big difference. It is nice that people recognise our achievements and what we are doing.”
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.
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.