Chrissie’s story – How I got hooked on an idea for an allotment

I was at a community anchor meeting and people were saying, “what do you think we should do, now we’re coming out of Covid?”. And I said, what I’d like is a field and a load of people from the local community, and I’d like to have an allotment where we could just grow and share food in the community.

And that was my vision, if you like. To have a big field locally, not thinking how it would be funded or anything. And then Lisa from Local Services 2 You said, “I think that’s a great idea.”

Anyway, furlough went on and furlough went on, and I went back to work on the first of June. I found I was just sitting there answering the phone. Anyway, Lisa got in touch and said would you like to do a few hours with us. She said we’ve a busy reception, but we also need to talk about this allotment idea and put a plan together. So I put a presentation together so we could pitch it to an organisation who had a field.

They had quite a lot on themselves at the time, so the timing was off. In the meantime, I’d got some other job offers for full time work. Before I could make a decision on that, we got told we’d been successful with our funding bid to create an allotment. Lisa asked me if I’d like to run it, but said, “Look, it’s not full-time hours, there isn’t loads of holiday and the pay isn’t as good, but…”.

So I turned down the full-time better paid jobs, because I really wanted to follow through on this allotment idea. It was clear it wasn’t going to be as big, initially at least, as I’d envisioned. But I’d got hooked on the value it could bring to the community, even starting on a much smaller scale. And that it would be so much more fulfilling and rewarding on a personal level.

I’m now focussed on growing the number of volunteers and the offer of different activities, like ‘Wonky Wednesdays’ and ‘Fruity Fridays’, and get people growing here and learning to grow fruit and veg at home.

I think the initial motivating factor that the idea sprung from for me was back during lockdown, when I found out my elderly neighbour went to the shop and there was no food in the shop. Financially he was sound, but if there’s nothing to buy… It’s that thought of realising there’s people out there who needed this type of help.

The more stories I heard, the more needs I found out about. Not just food, but the appliances to cook food and how to use them, because some older people went to cafes or just had a sandwich. Well, the cafes were closed so what do you do then?

It was a mad few months really. All these ideas were popping into my head, because I just thought we’ve got to help everybody. We’ve got to live in a fair, humane society. It isn’t all about the economy, it’s about people. And that’s the way I felt. That’s what I was motivated by.

That’s how Growing FOCAL came to life and you can find us at the Focal Community Centre in Lindley.

Find out more

FOCAL Community Centre

Growing FOCAL – Growing Great Places

Local Services 2 You

TSL Kirklees Community Anchor Network


Thank you to Chrissie for sharing this story after running a successful Growing Great Places campaign. Growing Great Places is our community crowdfunding programme which helps people to get great ideas off the ground in their local place.

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