Ealing Dean Allotments have 141 plots and, although we all look after our own plots, the Committee is responsible for the overall maintenance of the site, including the paths, fence and hedge surrounding the site.
To keep on top of this work, we have Volunteer mornings on the first Saturday of each month (except January!) where plot holders, people on the waiting list and interested locals come together to sort out whatever it is that needs doing.
So far this year, among other things, we’ve removed rubbish from the hedgerow (so many cans, bottles and on one occasion a carpet and a sink!), trimmed the hedgerow so that people can walk down Northfields Avenue without being attacked by the greenery, cleared the new community plot, installed our first composting toilet and mowed, tended and reseeded the Long Walk so that it’s accessible.
This month we concentrated on the hedge, which is mentioned in the original tenancy agreement of 1832 and is a designated SINC or Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. Therefore, the Committee feels it has a huge responsibility to protect it, care for it and manage it to ensure it stays healthy for another hundred years. It not only shelters the site but continues to give a home to a vast number of birds, mammals and insects.
The weather wasn’t exactly on our side last but we don’t cancel for rain, our motto is ‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes’
Earlier in the year we successfully applied for some free native hedgerow plants from the Woodland Trust. These will include hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn, dogwood, crab apple, dog rose and elder. (you can find out more on the Woodland Trust site.) The plants will not be delivered until November, but we needed to start the groundwork and ensure we are ready for their arrival.
The volunteer days are a great opportunity to get to know your fellow plot holders and, if you’re on the waiting list, your future neighbours - also to really see how much work goes into keeping the site functional. For anyone else, it’s a great chance to have a nose around the allotments (other than on the Annual Open Day) and to get some exercise - we like to keep the volunteers busy but we do provide really good treats (homemade flapjacks etc).
If you’d like to come along to a Volunteer Day, the next one is on 5 November, at 10am - please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested or have any questions.