Community allotment scheme for Leicester to encourage healthy eating and tackle isolation

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Community allotments are to be created in Leicester to give people easier access to nutritious food as well as an opportunity to meet their neighbours.

The areas will be used to grow fruit and veg, which could then be taken home by the residents who grew them or shared with the wider neighbourhood.

The project, announced by Leicester City Council, will also aim to bring neighbours together and encourage healthy and sustainable ways of eating.

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South Leicester has been earmarked by Leicester City Council for a £5,000 scheme to introduce a number of community allotments to the city’s estates.

The precise locations are yet to be decided, but it is thought existing communal spaces in neighbourhoods could be transformed.

The South Leicester Neighbourhood Area includes the Braunstone Park and Rowley Fields, Saffron, Castle, Stoneygate, Knighton, Aylestone and Eyres Monsell wards of the city.

Councillor Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for public health, is supporting the project which she said will help to encourage healthy eating and tackle social isolation.

She said: “We are working with local residents and The Conservation Volunteers to regenerate communal spaces on our estates.

“Our plan is to turn them into active food growing spaces that are pleasant for people to spend time in.

“The project will enable residents to work together, meet and connect with nature.

“Community food growing helps people to live healthier lifestyles by increasing their physical activity levels, encouraging healthy eating and developing friendships to reduce social isolation and improve mental health.”

The money for the scheme will come from the council’s housing revenue account, the pot of money generated from council tenants’ rents.

It is just one of the schemes set out in the council’s Food Plan 2021-26 to encourage home grown food and healthy eating.

The council also plans to increase the take-up of Healthy Start vouchers, which are available to families on a low income to buy fruit and veg, and set up more food pantries – where community venues offer low-cost food to members.

Over the course of the last plan, small grants were awarded to more than 60 community groups and 50 schools to support food growing.

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