A charity’s award winning Blackpool allotment has been making the most of a surplus of fruit and vegetables this summer, enabling locals with learning disabilities to pack and deliver boxes of homegrown produce to help out those most in need in the community.
Potters Den, run by national learning disability charity United Response, has been unable to operate in its usual capacity as a result of the lockdown and the strict social distancing measures that have been enforced. Determined to not let the abundance of summer-grown produce go to waste, team leader Jenny Whittaker sensed an opportunity to build upon the strong community ties the allotment has within the area.
With the help of people supported at United Response’s supported living service Mersey Road, Jenny and her team have been packing the variety boxes and delivering them to local community projects and other nearby United Response services. The Bridge Project, a day service for homeless people run by the Salvation Army, and the Amazing Grace soup kitchen have been two grateful recipients of the boxes. As have several sets of neighbours to the services that have been shielding.
United Response’s vegetable garden, designed for people with autism and physical and learning disabilities, was boosted in its efforts to pursue the delivery project after receiving £500 from the Tesco Bags of Help COVID-19 Communities Fund. The allotment had previously used a Tesco fund in 2019 when first starting out.
Tracey Fletcher, United Response’s Development Coordinator in the North West said:
“We’re really happy and feel really positive about this project. Not only does it prevent unnecessary waste of good, fresh produce but it also allows some of the people we support to meet new people and strengthen our ties within the local community – all whist helping out those less fortunate and promoting healthy eating!”
United Response plans to continue the project into the autumn months following its successful late-summer yield, which includes salads, apples, potatoes, carrots, squashes, rhubarb, courgettes and a variety of herbs.
To learn more about how United Response is striving to help improve the lives of people with disabilities, visit www.unitedresponse.org.uk.