• Durham OnAir

Believe housing invites staff and community to be part of new allotment


It’s good for the environment, produces free fresh food and is a great way to get fit and make friends – what’s not to love about gardening?







That is the question posed by believe housing as it invites schools, groups and individuals

to get as busy as bees on its new community allotment.


The County Durham-based housing association has transformed a 540 sq. m plot close to

its Coast House office, in Seaham.


A variety of herbs, fruit, vegetables and native wildflowers have been planted and a

combined shed and greenhouse will be installed to provide storage and growing space, as

well as an indoor communal place.


Staff from believe housing will be encouraged to use and maintain the garden but the

housing association also wants it to become a valued community resource.


“There are so many positives to being involved in a community garden. Fresh air, exercise,

learning new skills, trying fresh and healthy food and socialising are all good for your

physical and mental wellbeing.


“We’re really excited about the allotment’s potential and want it to grow into a place people

can enjoy and really feel part of,” said Andrea Baxter, Environmental Manager at believe

housing.


She added: “By regenerating this allotment we’re investing in our local community,

improving the environment and supporting biodiversity.


“Everything we grow on this plot will be good for pollinators and bees and people can take

away produce they’ve helped to grow, reducing their personal carbon footprint and use of

plastic packaging compared to shop bought alternatives.”


The allotment project has been supported by several believe housing’s partners.

RE:GEN Group supplied wooden sleepers, fixtures and 40 tonnes of compost to build

raised beds, Jewson supplied stone to create a platform and BCE Northern Limited helped

with the fencing and dug holes to plant fruit trees.


Paul Flannigan, Corporate Social Responsibility Director at RE:GEN Group, said: “We

work with believe housing on a number of schemes to improve local homes and

communities so were delighted to be involved with this great community initiative and to

see the allotment take shape.


“Having a space like this is so important and we hope that it will provide benefits to all

believe housing staff and the wider community for many years to come.” 


Groundwork North East and Cumbria was commissioned to get the allotment up and

running and will return to lead some of the volunteer engagement.


Jane Austin-Walker, Community Project Manager for Groundwork North East and

Cumbria, said: “This garden can be a place for colleagues from different parts of believe

housing to meet up and get to know what everyone else does and that’s good for a

workplace.


“It can bring the wider community together too, people might make new friends, they’ll feel

part of something and see something grow from the work they’ve put in.


“They can learn about different fruit and veg, how to look after them and how to cook

healthy low-cost meals. Gardening is so good for people in many ways, I’d encourage

anyone interested to get involved.”


An information session will be held at the believe housing allotment on Wednesday, June

22, from 3.30pm to 6pm.


To attend the event or for information about the allotment, contact Andrea Baxter on

07385-082650 or andrea.baxter@believehousing.co.uk