Teens take over allotment project

TEENAGERS in Pill have been getting their hands dirty for an allotment project aimed at teaching them new skills.

Youngsters attending the village youth group have been working on two plots to grow their own produce which they eventually hope to cook and sell at a youth cafe.

In May, the Pill Community Foundation was granted �10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards For All grants scheme to fund the project for a year.

Since then, a core group of teenagers have worked hard to maintain the plots at the Cross Lanes allotment site, growing produce including potatoes, onions, tomatoes, lettuces, cabbages and sweetcorn.

Youth worker Kirsty Claxton said: “We are building on the programme for health and well-being for young people aimed at getting them active.

“The budget will take us through from growing the produce, cooking it and then holding fundraising events with it.

“We aim to set up a youth cafe serving the seasonal food we grow.

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“The first phase has been a great success and we hope the allotment committee may allow us to extend our lease on the plots.

“The children are really responsible and they have formed friendships with other allotment users. This is helping to address the intergenerational divide in the village.

“The youngsters work really hard.”

As part of the scheme, which is being run in partnership with former play rangers now running a company called Inspire, the teenagers have visited other gardening projects for hints and tips and have worked on revamping their allotment shed.

They have also been tasked with deciding on the best ways to use the money available to them and have discussed the pros and cons of organic food as well as the use of weed-killers.