A COMMUNITY garden in Northfield has received a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for improving the lives of local residents.
Allen’s Cross Community Centre Garden achieves its aim by growing produce and supplying baskets of fresh vegetables for the local community.
The accolade recognises the volunteers’ work supporting their local community and the garden received special praise for its efforts during the pandemic.
During the last year the Grow Your Own project gave away over 300 growing kits, more than 120 plants and 340kg of organic veg to local people – 164kg of the veg was donated by the growers from Tinkers Farm Allotments.
The garden, run by the Allens Cross Community Association, has been open for over six years and provides an essential green, natural space for people to enjoy and take a break from the stresses of everyday life.
There are 26 volunteers, aged 18 to over 70 plus, from various ethnic groups and a range of abilities.
They learn a variety of skills, including planting, digging, caring for plants, clearing weeds, sweeping paths, caring for wildlife and looking after each other.
The garden is an asset to the area and has made such a difference to the lives of the people who get involved and the wider community that benefits from its resource and what it grows.
Jackie Green, who runs Allens Cross Community Garden, said: “We are so excited to receive the Queens Award for our amazing volunteers.
“They have done such a fantastic job over the last year and are what makes the garden a really special place to be.
“The Grow Your Own project was a real success – it was really encouraging that so many people were interested in growing their own food, many of them for the first time, and we were thrilled to be able to help give them a start on that journey.”
The Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, John Crabtree OBE, said: “It is heart-warming to see so many of these organisations gain the recognition they deserve.
“I am so grateful for everything they do and am thrilled we can praise their efforts through the QAVS Honour.”
He added many organisations faced huge challenges to the way they supported communities during the pandemic.
“It is truly inspirational to hear the lengths and imaginative ways the volunteers have gone to in order to provide what is often a life line to so many who are vulnerable and in need.”
The garden, based just off Tinkers Farm Road, grows organic vegetables and fruit and also has two bee hives.
It runs The Bee Mindful Project which educates young people about the vital role honey bees and other pollinators play in our environment.
Visit allenscrossgarden.co.uk for more information about the garden.
Go to www.wmlieutenancy.org for more on the awards and how to nominate.