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Jubilee jubilation – Food4families

29 May 2012

As the celebrations for the Queens Jubilee start to get underway we will take at look at some of our Jubilee People’s Millions projects and see how their projects are getting on since winning up to £60,000 in last summer’s public vote.

Sharon Fitton from Food4families, tells us what happened when the residents celebrated the amazing transformation of an overgrown eyesore into the beginnings of a beautiful space that will produce healthy organic fruit and veg.

The Reading-based project, Food4Families, has worked with local residents to manage the development of the site after over 4000 people voted in June 2011 for them to win £52,000 in the BIG Lottery’s Jubilee People’s Millions competition.

The lottery funding has covered the costs of the set up of the allotment, and revenue costs for one year. Then the management of the allotment will be handed over to a consituted committee made up of local residents.

The sun shone brightly for the opening and we missed all the April showers, everyone was very impressed with the changes (and the home made cake!). Visitors were able to sow seeds in the poly tunnel, dig in the new raised beds and sign up as new members.

Annie Turnbull, local resident and mother of two said: “I live in a flat and the only outside space my two children have access to is a 2x3m balcony, being able to come down here and get their hands dirty planting vegetables, will make a positive change to our lives.”

Work only started on the site in January so lots of people have worked very hard to get it ready for this growing season including the Probation Service’s teams of supervised offenders, the Youth offending service, volunteers from the BG group, Reading Borough Council officers and Southcote residents.

Becca Aitken from Thames Valley Probation said “Projects like this really give our offenders the opportunity to learn new skills, work alongside positive role models and give something back to the community.”

There is still a lot to do but many hands will make light work!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 30 May 2012 1:14 pm

    Food4Families is a great project – it was one of the first to receive funding from Local Food, the BIG Lottery Fund scheme that is all about making local food accessible and affordable to communities (

    We awarded the project £240,000 in 2009 to help it create food growing gardens for parents and children; to give people an understanding of the principles of food growing and the ability to put them into practice; to increase awareness of the connections with healthy eating and the sustainability aspects of food growing; to establish robust arrangements at both community and school-based sites to ensure the engagement of staff, parents and pupils in supporting the gardens in the longer term; and to develop an active network of food growing groups with web-based resources and forums for participants to use.

    The committed people at Food4Families have done a great job delivering on these outcomes and we were delighted to see them win further funding from the BIG Lottery’s Jubilee People’s Millions competition last year. Keep up the good work!

    To read more about inspiring projects like this one, take a look at our website:

    The Local Food team

    • Big Lottery Fund permalink*
      13 June 2012 8:48 am

      Agreed – it’s great to see the great progress that they’ve made with the benefit of funding! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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