SOLVING FROME’S LONG TERM ALLOTMENT CHALLENGE.
A powerful partnership of private, public and voluntary agencies has virtually solved Frome’s allotment shortage.
The Frome Development Community Interest Company (FDCIC), funded by a private donor and Frome Town Council have pooled resources to buy a five and a half acre field on the edge of town that will provide up to 80 families with the opportunity to grow their own food. The CIC has provided £40,000 with the remaining £20,000 coming from the Council’s agreed annual budget.
The field on Birchill Lane will be transferred to a charity administered by the Town Council so that it can be held for the people of Frome forever. Day to day management will become the responsibility of the Allotment Association, with the Council’s support, in the same way as other sites around the town. The site will be named the Muriel Jones Field in recognition of the Trust from which the private donation has been made.
The chair of FDCIC, Dr Mary Phillips said, “We were set up last year with the generous donation of a private donor in order to offer catalytic funding to community groups and organisations. We have a particular focus on local food production, especially where this is linked to health and self sufficiency. Until now we have struggled with how best to do this, but helping crack the town’s 10 year allotment waiting list fits our aims perfectly.”
Cllr Mel Usher, Leader of Frome Town Council said, “FDCIC came to Frome at the same time as the new council and have played a crucial role in helping us support and build the strength of voluntary organisations. This is something we could not have done alone both in terms of funding and because the CIC can move quickly. By working together we have purchased this terrific and rather beautiful new resource for Frome. The council has been searching for years to find an appropriate space for more allotments. It is also great news for those who simply want to enjoy the countryside on the edge of town – it will be a perfect place for a picnic and for other community use”.
Neil Cameron, Chair of the Allotment Association said, “There are 140 people on our waiting list. We estimate that, eventually, many can be fitted onto this field comfortably along with others who may wish to swap from their existing sites. It is slightly sloping south facing field, running down to the river, with good soil and drainage. In fact it’s ideal!”