Network Ryde – Community Youth Allotment

Fruit and vegetables grown in front garden veg patch by Mayor of Ryde Michael Lilley

Community youth allotment a haven for young people, as well as biodiversity (onthewight.com)

Network Ryde, Ryde Town Council’s Youth Service held an Allotment Open Day, on Saturday 1st May 2021. The allotment was officially opened by Susie Sheldon, the Lord Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight, and Michael Lilley, the Mayor of Ryde.

The community event which ran from 10am-1pm, was organised with specific time slots to allow for people to attend safely.

I was very proud as Mayor to have attended and see the great work on the youth workers and young people.

Allotment plot transformed


Network Ryde took on their Quarry Road allotment in August 2020 and have transformed their plot into a workable area for growing and for nurturing the wellbeing of their young people.

The plot was completely overrun by nettles and weeds, but the team and young people have worked hard, putting in raised beds, pathways, a new shed, and a greenhouse, where they have started growing plants from seed.

A haven for biodiversity


The team have also made it their mission to recycle as much as possible, and are encouraging biodiversity, by planting wildflowers, making bird feeders and leaving areas uncut to attract wildlife.

The Open Day was a wonderful opportunity to finally meet up with the friends of Network Ryde, colleagues and agencies who have been following the progress of the plot via the youth service’s social media pages.

During the day, Network Ryde’s young people gave tours to visitors and talked enthusiastically about their experience of working at the allotment. Carrie’s Cupcakes even made garden themed biscuits for the occasion!

Swan: One of Covid’s triumphs


Becky Swan (pictured centre) , Youth Work Manager at Network Ryde comments,

“Our Network Ryde allotment has been one of Covid’s triumphs. The space provides the young people with a safe outdoor space and the opportunity to start growing their own produce with the hope that we will then be able to cook with this once we are in our new building.

“We were delighted to have the Lord-Lieutenant and Mayor of Ryde come and open the plot and the young people enjoyed sharing the fruits of their labour.”

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