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A fresh idea to help others through difficult times

Allotment growers in Wirral are being invited to support some of the borough’s most vulnerable residents by donating their spare produce this harvest time.

As many growers know, a good growing season can lead to a glut of fruit and vegetables, which can become a challenge to consume before it begins to spoil.

So acting upon the suggestion from one Wirral grower, a plan has been hatched to make sure nothing goes to waste, while at the same time providing the freshest local ingredients to fellow residents who might be struggling to get food because they are isolating or in financial difficulty.

The letter – from an allotment holder who wishes to remain anonymous - said: “After months of preparation and hard work, harvesting fruit and vegetables is always one of the nicest jobs on the allotment. But as crops are usually ready for picking all at the same time, there is often too much to get through, so I have always been happy to give the surplus away to friends and neighbours.

“This year, because of the lockdown, I don’t expect to see as many people as usual and I couldn’t bear the idea of any of it going to waste. I was also conscious that lots of people currently need a bit of help to get the food they need.”

He went on to ask the council if there was a way for growers in the same position to donate spare produce to the Wirral’s Emergency Food Hub, who could then pass it on to local people who are receiving food help.

After carefully looking into food safety issues, staff and volunteers at the Emergency Food Hub have given a warm welcome to contributions from local growers, which will help them distribute more fresh food to people in need. 

Wirral Council’s cabinet member for Community Services, Councillor Julie McManus, said: 

“There are lots of benefits from having an allotment, including regular exercise in the fresh air and friendship with other plot holders. The satisfaction of knowing it helps some of the most vulnerable people in our community get through these very difficult times can now be added to that list.”

Growers will be asked to coordinate their donations so that combined collections or deliveries can be arranged from any of the 40 Council-run allotment sites in Wirral. Details of how to donate will be displayed on allotment notice boards and are available from site secretaries.

Although access to Wirral’s allotments has remained open through the health emergency, growers are reminded to protect themselves and others by following the public health advice, which is available on the National Allotment Society’s website