MICHAEL LILLEY

Taking Action

for Communities and Environment

Your group could net a funding boost by securing a community grant

Source ? - Raised bed growing vegetables Living on the Veg

If anyone wants help with applying for a grant from this fund in my ward of Ryde Appley and Elmfield, please contact me michael.lilley@iow.gov.uk

Calling all Isle of Wight community and voluntary organisations, town, parish and community councils! The final round of community grant funding to support Islanders with the cost of living opens today (Monday) 22.01.2024.

The community grants are paid for from the current grant round from the Department for Work and Pension’s Household Support Fund, which comes to an end on 31 March. In addition to schemes providing immediate support to residents, the Isle of Wight Council is looking for innovative sustainable initiatives that could be seed funded through this grant. If schemes can offer this, plus knowledge and skill sharing that residents can use in the future, that would be even better!

One example is ‘Living on the Veg’, a fantastic community allotment project run by Newport Congregational Church which received grant funding last year. The church, in Pyle Street, wanted to create a space where they could encourage people who may not eat fresh fruit and vegetables to have an opportunity to get their hands dirty or just enjoy the fruit produce others have provided.

Rev Mark Evans explained: “We have created a little garden and areas to grow fruit and vegetables. Firstly, we work in partnership. The main garden area, was a piece of wasteland belonging to our Catholic neighbours. We cleared and prepared it to be fruitful and ready to be planted.

We were very fortunate to secure the services of a key volunteer who has worked many hours, planting, sewing and nurturing the fruit and vegetables. Other volunteers have made planters out of recycled wood to grow fruit plants etc. Others have offered time to water and weed the planters. Food is regularly picked during the growing season and shared with anybody who wants to enjoy it.”

So far, Rev Evans estimates between 60 and 90 people have benefited from the fresh produce they grow with many more receiving produce dropped off at the church.  “What’s lovely, as produce has been shared or cooked for community meals, other gardeners or allotment owners have gifted us items from their abundance,” he said. “This is something we plan to build on during the coming season. We are looking for more support and assistance in the coming growing season.

The best way people can support the project, firstly is offer their skills. For example, knowing what to plant and when. Folk with green fingers are always welcome. “Secondly, we have a composting area where we turn spoil or waste into quality soil. A simple job of turning this and making the use of it, is an important new job. “Thirdly we also rain water harvest, via water-butts gifted from Southern Water, via our MP Bob Seely. Watering is a key job morning and evening during the heat of the summer. “We are also looking for someone to help with administration, to promote the garden via social media and to potentially grow the garden and project.

“Our hopes are in the coming year we can encourage more people who are living on the edge of life with various issues to get involved, to get their hands dirty and enjoy new activities, new food or to enjoy community meals.”


For more information about community grants, contact the council’s connect4communities team at connect4communities@iow.gov.uk or visit the connect4communities website.

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