Woodley Town Council works with local charity Launchpad to provide fresh produce for locals affected by homelessness
Woodley Town Council, in association with the Reading Road Tenant’s Association, has allocated three community plots at its Reading Road Allotment site for local charity Launchpad to engagecorporate volunteers to grow crops to supply fresh garden produce to disadvantaged and vulnerable families via foodbanks, soup kitchens and community fridges.
Launchpad, a Reading-based homelessness prevention charity, workswith teams of regular corporate volunteers to create and nurture these working allotments to cultivate, make good and grow fresh produce seasonally and once picked, washed and packed, to make it available to the local community in need.
The designated plots were originally overgrown and a lot of work has gone into cultivating them from both Launchpad volunteers and Reading Road tenant volunteers.
Carolyn Davies, a Committee Member of the Reading Road Tenant’s Association, is delighted that the plots have been so well cultivated and able to produce fresh produce in a relatively short space of time.
“I would just like to say how proud I am of what we have achieved in a relatively short time on the Launchpad plots. It doesn’t seem that long ago when we started on the mammoth task of clearing an overgrown area, and we warned Launchpad not to expect anything this year because the ground was so poor!”
In addition to the Launchpad volunteers, many tenants have volunteered to provide expertise to assist on the volunteering days, filling in the gaps between sessions, watering in the evenings, providing tools, seeds, plants and seedlings and more.
Many local companies have also donated several items to get the project up and running. These include: Hammerson, which donated money for the poly tunnel, Balfour Beatty which provided a container for storage and University College of Estate Management which donated money that will be used to fit out the container and Shinfield Parish Council which provided a water tank.
Donations have also been received following a plea on Woodley focused group pages on Facebook, including tables and chairs, donations of money to buy seeds and compost and two wheelbarrows and watering cans.
The project has been so successful that it was able to deliver fresh produce to Reading FoodBank Readifood and 2kg of broad beans to Sadaka, another local food charity based in Reading, which provides free meals every Saturday.
During the first delivery to Readifood, threepeople were able to take bags of courgettes, onions, kale, borlotto and French beans, resulting in plot to customer in less than two hours.
The Reading Road Tenants Association is looking for more volunteers to help run the project, including some expertise knowledge to supervise tending and cultivating the crops. Please contact email@example.com for more information.