My main motivation for getting involved is to have pride in where I live. This was my inspiration to bring like-minded people together to carry out improvements around all the villages around Holmfirth, in a variety of ways.
My wife Karen and I moved to Holmbridge, Holmfirth in 2013 from Essex after retiring. We moved to help with our grandchildren as our daughter works at a local school. We embraced living in the Holme Valley and the people who live here that love where they live, as we now do.
I was looking for a way to keep busy and in November 2017 I took up the Chair position of Holmepride – Community in Action, when we became a constituted group.
After successfully raising funds and putting in some hard graft to establish an allotment at Holmfirth J, I & N school, I’ve since left the space for them to get on and use. And they’re using it well. I know they are growing lots of things there.
We first contacted Head Teacher Julian Rose about the school allotment on 13th June 2019, after I had lent litter pickers to the school a couple of months earlier, for the children to use.
The school had an old unused allotment that wasn’t suitable for a modern school. So, we started the ball rolling to get quotes. We raised around £6k but the contractor wasn’t up to the job and we had to get another contractor in, needing an additional £12k.
We had fantastic support from businesses and we applied for many grants to support the work. In addition, we raised a lot of what we needed through Growing Great Places, the Spacehive crowdfunding programme run by the Democracy Service at Kirklees Council. We raised over £13k from 60 different backers, including a £4k pledge from Kirklees Council.
I might have been the one to spot the opportunity, but there’s a large number of local people and partners who made it happen.
The allotment was opened by the Kirklees Mayor and Mayoress, Cllr Nigel Patrick and Judith Patrick in November 2021.
The allotment has seven raised beds, two being built extra high for wheelchair users and spaced out to enable full use of the whole allotment.
We purchased a polytunnel and bought a storage shed for the allotment, the latter being donated by the Co-op. Holmepride – Community in Action raised enough funds to kit the allotment out with tools and racking in both polytunnel and shed.
Two groups are now using it to assist in getting the children growing from seed. Grow to School attend and are advising the children on growing from seed and another group, Sharing Memories, attend and speak about their experiences of growing up as children and help in the allotment, some in wheelchairs.
We not only helped in the allotment but planted a dozen fruit trees around the outside of the allotment fences on two sides, using M26 apple rootstock which only grow to 12 feet high and make fruit picking easier for the children.
The food grown in the allotment was intended for the children to consume through the school kitchen, so they experience the whole cycle from seed to consumption.
And in many ways, that’s it. See the potential, make something happen, then leave it to those who are going to use it and help it grow. Literally. That then frees me up to look at developing other projects through Holmepride – Community in Action.
My main motivation is to have pride in where I live and be proud to say “I live in Holmfirth”. This has been my driving force, with the backing of the people, businesses, Holme Valley Parish Council and Kirklees Council departments.
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Thank you to Win 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.