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Community learning | Award for allotment scheme that’s transforming lives
Stafford and Rural Homes - SARH

Award for allotment scheme that’s transforming lives

A project that’s transforming lives, reducing anti-social behaviour and cleaning up derelict plots of land in the Stafford area has scooped a prestigious award from an organisation representing housing association customers.

A joint project between Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) and Stafford Borough Council, ‘Growing Health‘ has been recognised by The Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) at its Central Region awards ceremony.

Judges in the Excellence in Community Action category were impressed by the way the project had engaged with individuals and community groups to create thriving community allotments.

The first allotment, in Meadow Road Stafford, has already attracted praise for the way it has helped members of the local community improve their health by growing fresh vegetables for healthier meals and getting them engaged in physical activity out in the fresh air.

Meadow Road 2014 Press Shot600x350

Laura MacPhee, Community Involvement Officer at SARH, explained: “The Meadow Road allotment has proved a huge success and now we have established similar projects in Stone, Barlaston and Blythe Bridge.

“As well as improving the health of individuals, the allotments have dramatically improved the appearance of plots of land that had attracted fly tipping and anti-social behaviour whilst bringing neighbours and voluntary organisations together in a common cause.”

The TPAS Awards showcase successful partnerships between landlords, contractors and their customers. As well as winning in the Excellence in Community Action accolade, SARH was also shortlisted in the Excellence in Employment Skills and Training category.

Following the success at regional level, Stafford’s leading landlord is also now in line for a national award from TPAS.

Allotment clean up

Karen Armitage, SARH Chief Executive, commented: “We are delighted that Growing Health is receiving so much recognition and its success demonstrates how, by working in partnership with local authorities, customers and voluntary organisations, housing associations can make a real difference to the communities they serve.

“Growing Health reflects our wider commitment to build stronger communities alongside our core aim of meeting the need for quality, affordable homes in Stafford and surrounding areas,”

“To receive recognition for this work from an organisation promoting customer empowerment is particularly significant, and congratulations to everyone involved.”

Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities at Stafford Borough Council, added: “Stafford and Rural Homes, in meeting a request from their tenants and communities to provide a range of leisure activities, including allotments, have been able to transform the outlook of these areas and the lives of their tenants.

“The health and wellbeing of our Borough is one of the Council’s top priorities and so it’s fantastic to see schemes we’re involved in like this making a real difference.

“Allotments not only produce healthy food and keep people active, they are a great place to meet your neighbours and really transform where people live.”

Pictured receiving the award are, left to right: Sam Logan, Health Support Officer at Stafford Borough Council; Laura MacPhee, Community Involvement Officer at SARH; Jane Meyrick from Whych Youth Group with Jenny Osbourne, Chief Executive at TPAS.

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