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Garden Share Scheme launches

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

  • We can dig it: Councillor Barbara Driver, Mike Bush, Vision 21's Dave Entwistle, Molly Wright and, seated, community engagement assistant, Hannah Wright

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GROWING your own fruit and vegetables has never been more popular.

The health benefits and savings from your shopping bill are obvious, but what can you do if you don't have a garden or access to an allotment?

Today, we reveal The Cheltenham Garden Share Scheme, a project that seeks to unite garden-owners with people who want to roll up their sleeves and start planting.

Led by not-for-profit organisation Vision 21 and backed by the Echo, it aims to pair people who want to grow their own food with home owners who are willing to share their garden for the purpose of growing vegetables.

The initial idea for the sharing scheme came from former Mayor of Cheltenham Councillor Barbara Driver (C, Lansdown) and is based on an existing project called Landshare, which was launched by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

David Entwistle, senior manager at Vision 21, said: "I first met Barbara Driver last year. She asked me if I knew about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the Landshare initiative.

"I told her that I had come across it and that it was a good idea. Little did I know she was such an expert angler and I had taken the bait without even realising it."

Since then, Vision 21 has taken the lead on trying to make the Garden Share scheme a reality.

It is hoped the great garden share will bring a number of benefits both to the community and individuals, including helping to reduce some people's feelings of isolation and to promote healthy eating.

Molly Wright, 92, lives in Cirencester Road and grows vegetables in her neighbour Mike Bush's garden. She said: "I used to have an allotment but when they have built a couple of houses on the ground I lost it.

"Mike told me that I could have a plot in his garden which was very kind of him, so I can now grow my own vegetables again." The project is also being supported by administered by the NHS, Cheltenham Borough Council, Hester's Way Resource Centre, Gloucestershire County Council.

Mrs Driver said: "We haven't got enough space for allotments anymore so we are trying to encourage people to grow their own by taking advantage of gardens which perhaps are not being used."

Echo editor Kevan Blackadder said: "We wanted to get involved in this scheme because we felt it was a great community initiative that will see people benefit from having their gardens brought back into use as well as offering people who want to grow their own fruit and vegetables the chance to do so."

OPINION, P8

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