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Funding granted for Allotments and Community Garden

Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust was this week awarded almost £70,000 to develop both an allotment site and community garden.

The sum comes from Round 7 of the Climate Challenge Fund, a grant scheme which will distribute a total of £27.4 million over the three years, 2008-2011, to community groups aiming to reduce carbon emissions, with this project aiming to save up to 25 tonnes of carbon each year, through the reduction of 'food miles'.

The allotments will be developed at a site adjacent to Johnston Road, near the Ferry Terminal on Rousay. Each allotment is expected to consist of a small shed, composting bin and water butt, with a polytunnel, and a community shed providing various sets of gardening tools and equipment, such as a rotavator and eco-friendly mower, for the allotment owners to use.

News of successful funding for the allotment project is anticipated to be well-received, with two-thirds of households in the area expressing an interest in allotment gardening when surveyed last summer. Only households in Johnstons Road and Pier Houses will be elegible to use the allotments, with an Allotment Society set up for those who take up this exciting opportunity.

The Community Garden will include a polytunnel and is to be accessible by all members of the community, including those who are less agile. It will be positioned within the grounds of Rousay Community School, providing an excellent setting for school pupils as they learn about growing their own fruit and vegetables. It is hoped that any produce gained from the project can be used for both school meals and the over-60s' weekly Lunch Club, as well as various community events held throughout the year.

Seedlings produced by the Community Garden will be available for free distribution amongst the community, acting as an incentive for those who are yet to delve into the world of home-grown produce.

Part of the funding will be used to employ a gardener to the project, initially until March 2011, who will be able to give hands-on, practical demonstrations for anyone looking to start growing their own produce, and will be responsible for the initial development of the community garden.

This is not the first time that the Development Trust has benefitted from the Climate Challenge Fund - in December 2009, the Trust was granted just under £40,000 from Round 6 of the funding, for an 'Affordable Warmth' project. The venture aimed to improve insulation and energy efficiency, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint by 76.95 tonnes per year.

Meanwhile, the Development Trust was unsuccessful in its attempts to get funding for a new, electrically-powered community minibus. The Trust had hoped to be granted money from the Climate Challenge Fund to purchase the new minibus, as well as for the development of a website to encourage car-sharing for both local and longer distances.

14:11 Sat 03/04/2010