Each year Newbury Town Council present awards to allotment tenants from each site who are judged to have kept the best allotment plots.  This year, during these difficult times, it was felt that as a number of allotment tenants would have been shielding and not able to spend time tending their plots the traditional awards would not be appropriate.

In partnership with the Allotment Stewards at each site, one tenant, or tenants from each of the 6 Newbury sites were identified as having done something special or extraordinary at their allotment site throughout the season of 2020.  

At the Community Services Committee Meeting, held via ZOOM on Monday 21st September, the winners from each site were awarded with a certificate and will be receiving a bespoke handcrafted key ring, made by local artist Naomi Lunn of Pyromani Art.

Cllr Martin Colston, Leader of the Council said: “We appreciate that this year it has been very difficult and some of our allotment tenants would not have been able to tend their plots as usual.

We were also unable to hold our annual ‘Newbury in Bloom’ awards this year, which is very disappointing so when we heard about what some of our tenants were doing and contributing during ‘Lockdown’ from our Allotment Stewards we were inspired by their dedication and support of fellow tenants and the community.

 I would like to congratulate the award winners and thank them for their continued efforts during these strange and difficult times.

We are looking forward to planning our ‘Newbury in Bloom’ Awards for 2021 and Newbury will also be entering the ‘Thames and Chiltern in Bloom’ competition once again, in partnership with our Green Spaces Working Group”.

The winners of the “Newbury ‘In Lockdown’ 2020 Allotment Awards” are as follows:

Southby’s Site

Mike Hart, plot 19.

Mr Hart grew around 1300 young tomato plants from early in the year which he gave away for a charitable donation. He gave around 300 plants to a local scout group to be able to sell for their fundraising. From the remainder he managed to donate £2000 for Newbury Cancer Care.  The project will be ongoing with the help of the Southby’s Allotment Tenants Association (SATA).                                                                                                                 

Parsons Site

Frank Knott, New Leaf Horticultural Therapy, plots 29 & 30

This allotment is usually tended by a small friendly group of people, all of whom are experiencing mental health problems but who find support and friendship through the two sessions that are held at the allotments each week.

During ‘lockdown’ Frank, who runs the group, regularly visited the large plot to keep it ready for the group on their return. Following the easing of ‘lockdown’ the group are now back at the allotment with Frank as their inspiration. 

One Tree Park Site

During (and since) lockdown OTP ran a very successful Plant & Produce Stall.  None of this would have been possible without the hard work and patience of 3 ladies who pricked-out literally hundreds of seedlings for onward growing.  The Award goes jointly to:

  • Irene Hanbury
  • Sarah de Souza
  • Julie Cole

Wash Common Site

Ruth Reid, plot 33

Not only does Ruth keep her organic allotment in a methodical and productive way, it always looks well cared for and pretty with lots of pretty, insect attracting flowers. Ruth keeps an eye out for anybody in need.  She notices when somebody’s allotment is not looking to be tended as well as usual and will weed and water to help maintain it. She will ask if everything is alright with certain plot tenants. Her caring ways are also expressed in her helping with the establishment of the therapy garden on site.  Already produce from it is being used by the food bank.

West Mills Site

Mrs Christa & Mr Mike Steer, plot 18a

Having only taken on the plot in March this year, Mr & Mrs Steer are new tenants who have done a fantastic job creating their allotment, creating raised beds and a fruit cage during lockdown transforming a previously neglected plot.

Dairy Farm Site

Lina Lennie, plots 28a/b Lina and her family have been nominated for taking on a very neglected allotment plot and have completely transformed it into an outstanding growing area. Fellow tenants and the allotment Steward on the site are pleased to see this plot looking so beautiful and the family working together with the children getting involved in the growing and tending of the plot.

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