AN allotment project for disabled users worth £475,0000 has passed the first round of a major grant application.
Hartlepool’s Waverley Terrace Allotment Project aims to expand over the next five years and is seeking £400,000 support from the Big Lottery Fund.
It is a fantastic opportunityPatrick Wilson, Hartlepool Borough Council
The lottery application was submitted by Hartlepool Borough Council on behalf of the Waverley Allotment Group (WAG).
It is to pay for a business co-ordinator, volunteer co-ordinator and improvements to the allotment such as polytunnels, machinery and a welfare unit.
Patrick Wilson, principal employment development officer with the council, said: “Council teams have been working to identify how we can expand on the offering at Waverley Terrace Allotment in terms of infrastructure and develop the site potentially to draw in income.
“The aim is to increase the opportunities for people with disabilities and mental health problems.”
Updating regeneration committee councillors on the lottery grant, Mr Wilson added: “We have been notified that we have got through to stage two which we are really pleased about because the first stage is the most difficult.
“It doesn’t mean that we have got the money, there’s a heck of a lot of work still to do.”
The Waverley Terrace Allotment Project was set up by in 2007 by adults with a range of mental, social and physical disabilities.
The group works from land in the Rift House area of Hartlepool cultivating fruit and vegetables, refurbishing furniture, and creating seasonal items such as Christmas wreaths, providing therapeutic and employment support for its members.
The expansion project would also boost the work the site does in building users’ confidence levels to progress into mainstream employment.
Mr Wilson added: “It is a fantastic opportunity. We are talking about quite vulnerable people in society that if we didn’t support there would be a big gap in services.”
The council intends to provide £75,000 in-kind staff support to the project.
Coun Kevin Cranney said: “I’ve been down there and they’s got some good stuff. It’s really well used.
“I totally support it.”