GREEN-FINGERED residents of all abilities, needs and ages are enjoying gardening at an allotment site in York.

The Green Lane Allotments has two purpose-built plots - one designed for children with special educational needs from Hob Moor Oaks School and the other for adults with mobility difficulties.

Colin Smith, secretary of Green Lane Growers, said the plots consisted of raised beds of varying heights for the children, with access to mains water and a purpose-built compostable toilet shared with the adult mobility plot.

“The adult plot has space for six tenants who each have one wheelchair accessible raised bed inside a polytunnel, together with a locker, and one accessible raised bed in the open air,” he said.”All of the raised beds have a mains water tap attached to them.”

He said the pupils were now well established on the site and made regular visits during the growing period, while the adult plot still had vacancies.

Mr Smith said the plots were the latest phase of a process of rejuvenation for the allotments which began four years ago and was inspired by the then site secretary, Mal Foster, who had been a plot holder on the site for many decades and knew every square inch of it.

He said Mal suggested an association of tenant volunteers could work together to bring a new sense of vitality to the site, and this was the beginning of ‘Green Lane Growers,’ who set about transforming the allotment into a ‘vibrant and inclusive haven’ where people could enjoy the benefits of nurturing their own fruit and vegetables in the peace and quiet.

City of York Council transferred the management of all its allotments to a group of plot holders who formed the York Allotments Charitable Incorporated Organisation (YACIO), which aspired to ensure all residents, irrespective of ability, could have access to growing space and lent its support to the plans. Successful bids were made to a Police Service charitable fund and the City of York’s ‘Forgotten Corners’ initiative and a core of enthusiastic volunteers created the new plots.

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