By Landshare News In 2009, the early days of Landshare, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall visited a community allotment for local residents in Leigh, Greater Manchester, as part of a River Cottage programme. Two years on, the allotments are thriving, and local police are amazed to find that anti-social behaviour has fallen by over 50% in the area.
The community allotment is a joint venture between the Leigh Neighbourhood Policing Team and Wigan Council, and was spearheaded by two very determined ladies – Doreen and Marg. It was set up to encourage young people to take an interest in growing their own fruit and veg. Visiting the site, Hugh said:
“I am absolutely certain that it will make a real difference to the lives of dozens of kids. You can’t ask for more than that”.
He was right. Residents are able to take on individual allotment plots at the site, and the site is well used by young people. But local police are astounded by the massive drop in the amount of anti-social behaviour on the estate since the allotments were established, and believe that the allotments have had a significant impact on that fall in social problems.
Local police who helped set up the allotments have reported an incredible fall in the amount of anti-social behaviour in the last two years since, the allotments were established, and Police Community Support Officer Wendy Walters said, “In the past year there has been a staggering 51% reduction in Anti-Social behaviour on the estate”.
Locals agree that the allotments have had a positive effect on reducing anti-social behaviour. One of the local residents commented, “Over the past two years the estate has seen a great improvement in Anti-Social behaviour since the allotment started, I’m sure that this has had an effect giving children somewhere to go and something to do”.
Growing your own food is well known to have a positive effect on health, and recent research by the Food for Life Partnership also found that growing and eating healthy food in schools also improved the behaviour and performance of school pupils. The massive reduction in anti-social behaviour seen at Leigh Allotments is further evidence of the personal and social benefits of growing and eating healthy, fresh food with our families and local communities.
No matter who we are or where we live, land underpins the fundamentals of our survival; we need it for food, fuel, shelter, and clean water. In our finite and uncertain world securing these fundamentals will require action based on long-term thinking.Their work is focused on three projects: