Garden for all takes shape

Open to all: the community garden is next to the allotments and primary school

The proposed Rye community garden took a step forward when the Rye Community Food and Wildlife Garden group recently signed a licence to occupy part of the Love Lane allotment site. The two allotment sites in Rye were leased by Rother District Council last year to the Rye Amenity CIC (Community Interest Company) following a review of services. Since then the company, managed by town councillors Ian Potter, Michael Boyd and Sean Rogers, have sought to reduce the running costs and maximise the community value.

“We see this as a very positive step in our goal to bring the unproductive parts of the allotments into use in a way that has benefits to the community,” Michael Boyd said.

The garden group was formed last year with the aim of providing a community garden where individuals could learn how to grow fruit and vegetables and encourage wildlife. Pip Al-Khafaji, a trustee for the charity, said: “The idea is that the garden would be available to all Rye residents to come and enjoy/work in/harvest and we’re especially hoping that families with young children will get involved.

“There’s no commitment as to hours spent there as we’ve adopted a very relaxed approach in the expectation that this will encourage a broad spectrum of interest across Rye. Many people would love to be able to ‘grow their own’ but we know that one of the difficulties of signing up to a proper allotment is the sheer amount of time that has to be spent on running even a small plot – this way, anyone participating gets all the pleasure with very little individual pain!”

The garden group successfully bid for £750 of funding from Rother Environmental Group earlier this year. This was part of the £5,000 given to Rye for environmental projects by the producers of The Monuments Men after filming took place in Rye last year.

Following granting of the licence the group has received a further boost by an offer of hardcore and paving slabs to provide a base for a shed by local firm W. Tollett (General Builders) Ltd. Jon Crafer, company director, said: “We are always happy to support local charities and initiatives in the best way we can. We do this by offering technical advice and donating materials to get projects started and through to completion.” The community garden would welcome any other offers of help and support.

With the site secured and the first bed marked out, the group are very confident of making a success of the project. If you would like to find out more or want to offer help you can email or phone 07925 745405

Photo by Katharine Manning