Why was the Alliance created?
Council-owned allotments in Rotherham have suffered over recent years due to limited levels of investment in sites and services. Consequently, some areas of allotment land are in very poor condition making them difficult to cultivate, and they are failing to reach their full potential in terms of numbers of people using them. There are concerns that the viability of some allotment sites may be put at risk because of this. Many sites have waiting lists. It has also proved difficult over recent years to develop the wider benefits of allotments, including volunteering opportunities, skills development and community engagement.
A review of Rotherham’s allotments carried out by Rotherham Council working in partnership with Rotherham and District Allotments Association concluded that self-management offered best prospects for realising the potential of allotments within available resources.
The Rotherham Allotment Alliance is set up as a ‘Community Benefit Society’ and is responsible for the management of all allotment provision previously provided by Rotherham MBC. The Rotherham Allotment Alliance will allow allotment gardeners to control the development and operation of allotments in Rotherham to deliver sustainable service improvements, increase occupancy rates and promote the environmental and social benefits of growing within the wider community, including improved health and wellbeing. The main activities to achieve the objectives are as follows:-
- Letting of allotment plots on directly managed sites, including management of waiting lists, plot preparation and collection of rents
- Temporary letting of unused allotment land for other compatible uses, including grazing
- Maintenance and improvement of directly-managed sites, including grass, hedges, trees, boundaries, gates, water supplies, communal buildings, preparation of vacant plot
- Letting of allotment sites to allotment societies and/or establishing a volunteer base
- Developing networks to support existing allotment societies
- Encouraging and supporting formation of new societies on sites without self-management
- General promotion and development of allotment gardening across Rotherham