Published on 10th August 2020

Funding from Cheshire police and crime commissioner’s Safer Communities Fund has been awarded to a Cheshire community group who will now set up a gardening club and community allotment in Runcorn.

Halton Speak Out will start to deliver a gardening project whereby local residents can learn to grow their own produce and interact with one another. The project aims to bring together young and old to establish the community space and reduce loneliness and isolation following the recent months of lockdown.

Brookvale Community Centre, is hoping to establish the project alongside a whole host of other activities for the community as Covid-19 restrictions ease. They hope the centre will soon be able to resume some of the activities delivered before lockdown as part of the aspiration to make the centre a hive of activity for local residents.

Funding will be used to purchase a shed, fencing and tools for the project and will kick start the project with seed, plants and compost.

The community centre, based on Northwich Road in Runcorn, is also planning to establish a community pantry to support local families in hardship and they hope to grow produce in the allotment to be donated to those in need.

Mal Hampson, representing the group, said: “We know this is going to make an enormous difference to people living in the area. We are very thankful to PCC David Keane for the funds and will ensure they make a big impact.

“Some of those wanting to be involved in the project have already been to the centre to paint the fences ahead of the first group meeting. So, I would say this is having an immediate effect.”

PCC David Keane said: “Community groups like this provide a vital support network to many residents in Cheshire. The pandemic has resulted in people losing that support and becoming isolated at home.

“Halton Speak Out is working hard to think differently about the support they can offer in these challenging times and how they stay connected.

“I am so pleased to be able to reinvest money taking from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act and enable projects like this to make a positive and valuable difference.”