Published: Monday, 21st August 2017
Grant money from Broadland District Council has helped a community market garden buy much-needed equipment.
Eves Hill Veg Co, near Booton, set up with the aim of growing vegetables to be sold locally and running both volunteer and training programmes for people to learn more about producing.
The £500 grant from the council came in handy after 12 volunteers turned up to one session and there were only two forks to use between them.
Hannah Claxton, project director, said: "We were lent equipment which we then had to give back, which left us with very little to work with.
"The money has allowed us to establish our volunteer days, buy tools, compost and seeds and pay for some volunteer expenses like bus fares. The grant from Broadland District Council was also a stepping stone to other grant applications."
Last year, the project worked with more than 100 volunteers, some wanting to improve their horticultural skills, others who were in recovery from mental illness and others who wanted more formal training to help aid a career change.
Hannah's background is in community food, working in London for OrganicLea Community Growers and teaching Organic horticulture.
"I started the project in April 2016, after being invited by the family who own the farm to do something similar to what I was doing in London," she said.
"We are renting two acres of land and growing productively on one acre. Our volunteer programme is very open and sociable and people can come here and learn new skills."
Frances Hay, who lives in Thursford, hopes her experience at Eves Hill Veg Co will help her find employment.
"I'm trying to change career and hope to be employed in horticulture but don't have any formal qualifications," she said.
"I have been gardening all my life but here you get the experience of growing and the skills of how to manage crops. It will give me the confidence to apply for jobs and have more chance of being taken seriously."
Stuart Clancy, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development at Broadland District Council, said: "This project provides people with the skills to help find employment and also comes with great health benefits.
"Volunteers can learn about horticulture and producing while being outdoors and active. It's what we champion at the council - helping people live and work better in Broadland."
Volunteering days at Eves Hill Veg Co are held every Wednesday from 10am-4pm and the last Saturday of every month. Veg bags are also available for collection from the farm in Booton.
For more information, please contact Hannah Claxton on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07876 354363.
To find out if your project could benefit from a Community Grant, call Veronica Savage, Economic Development Officer at Broadland District Council, on 01603 430449.