Near Neighbours funded the Lees Moor TRA project in Dewsbury, last year in August. The project started a children's gardening club to teach children about where food comes from, how it's grown, and how to cook with it during sessions every weekend. The project brought together children from Muslim, Christian, and no faith backgrounds, and Asian and White British ethnic groups.

I had the pleasure to visit this fantastic project in Dewsbury! Project leader, Bruce, showed me around the allotment. It was fantastic to see the great fruit and veg that people from the community had planted. I had the delight to try a fresh strawberry and slice of homemade cake which featured homemade strawberry jam from the allotment!

Bruce showed me a picture of what the allotment looked like over year ago. It was a place where people dumped their rubbish. With help from a Near Neighbours grant and from people in the community, it is now a beautiful place which serves the community. It enables people to get know each other and grow their own food. I interviewed Bruce to find out more about his project.

 

Where were you born?

Mirfield, a small town in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

 

What was it like growing up there?

I spent most of my time in nature. I used to look for frogs, newts and birds. I felt connected when I was in nature.

 

Do you have any specific belief background?

Well, I believe in Mother Nature. I believe we all come from Mother Nature.

 

Who inspires you?

My grandad inspired me. He used to live in Norfolk and I used to go in his garden and grow lots of vegetables as a kid. I can still remember the smell of homemade cakes coming from the kitchen when my grandmother was baking. I would say my grandad (and my mum) definitely influenced my passion for gardening.

 

What brought about your project and why did you decide to focus on this specific issue?

People were using this space as a place to tip their rubbish. I wanted people to get out of their homes and to get involved in growing their own food. Food is great when you grow it yourself. There is something particularly lovely about growing your own carrots and eating it fresh, it beats the supermarket!

 

 

What went well in your project?

Receiving a grant from Near Neighbours helped so much. Near Neighbours made the funding application really simple for me, I didn’t have to jump through any hoops. It was also great to have help from Laila, Jay from K&H, and Near Neighbours coordinator Wahida.

 

What were the challenges in your project?

The challenge was getting funding from other places. Many other places, made you jump through hoops. Another challenge was getting people to take it up and getting them out of their houses so they could grow their own good. But it eventually it all came together, and now we have a waiting list of people who wish to use the allotment!

 

How did this project create an impact/make a difference?

It cleaned up the area and it has made people feel good in the local area.

 

What was your favourite memory of your project?

A little girl, aged 5, planted some peas with her mother once. She thought the peas would grow that second, so she waited for them to sprout. 

 

If you had to give a message to anyone who wanted to do a project, what would it be?

Don’t give up, get on with it. It will all come right in the end.