St Ann’s Allotments Competition – we need your help!

We’re very proud to look after St Ann’s Allotments – one of the world’s largest urban allotment sites – and now we’re asking local people to help choose the Best Allotment 2020 as part of a new competition celebrating local gardeners!

“I can’t imagine not having an allotment. There is always something to do and you always think this is one of the finest places in the world, never mind Nottingham.”

“Being in the allotment gives an escape that lots of people don’t have at this difficult time.”

“It’s been an incredible source of joy, peace and decompression. Just slowing down enough to observe the intricacies of the life of the plot is an amazing part of the current situation and something I’m determined to make part of my ‘new normal’.”

Gardeners at St Ann’s Allotments have been sharing what their allotments have meant to them during lockdown and social distancing and it’s clear that the site has provided a much needed green space and sanctuary for local people.

St Ann’s Allotments is one of the biggest inner-city allotment sites in the world, as well as one of the oldest and largest collections of Victorian detached town gardens in the UK, comprising of 670 individual allotment gardens surrounded by high hedges. That means that allotment-holders, many of who may not have a garden at home, have been able to visit their plot throughout lockdown. The allotments are also Grade 2* listed and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation – home to a range of 19th century heritage buildings, as well as rare wildlife, plants and trees.

To celebrate the allotments and the hard work of local gardeners, we’ve launched a new competition and we’re calling on local people to choose their favourite allotment!

The St Ann’s Allotment Competition 2020 will include an award for Best Allotment which will be voted for by local people from a shortlist showcased on social media.

Other prizes will be awarded for Most Improved Plot, Best Crop, Best Wildlife Habitat and Be Creative – awarded to a gardener who’s been inspired to get creative by spending time on their allotment. Prizes up for grabs include garden tools, vouchers and an apple press.

St Ann's Allotments
St Ann's Allotments

Our Allotment Manager, Nicola Hinton, explained:

“St Ann’s Allotments has been providing safe green spaces for local gardeners and their families throughout lockdown and social distancing and it’s clear from the feedback we’ve had from allotment-holders that it’s had a huge impact on their physical and mental health and wellbeing, while giving gardeners the chance to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, spend time in nature and grow fresh fruit and vegetables.

“The St Ann’s Allotment Competition 2020 will give gardeners the chance to show-off the fruits of their labour and celebrate the wonderful contribution the allotments have made to life in lockdown and beyond.

“As well as the prize for Best Allotment 2020, which will recognise a great all-round plot, the competition will also include an award for Most Improved Plot awarded to the allotment that’s made the most progress; Best Crop for the most impressive fruit, veg or flowers; Best Wildlife Habitat, which will recognise an allotment designed for nature as well as people; and Be Creative, awarded to an allotment-holder that’s been inspired to get creative by their allotment, whether through art, photography, creative writing or taking up a new green craft for example.

“We’re very excited that local people will be getting involved too, by choosing the Best Allotment 2020. It’s a great way of giving local people who may not be familiar with the site a glimpse into the wonderful world of St Ann’s Allotments and hopefully as Covid-19 restrictions ease, we can start welcoming visitors back to the site through our Open Day events and tours.”

St Ann’s Allotments has also drawn the attention of BBC Gardeners World, with the programme due to film at the site in August. Hopefully, that means viewers across the UK will get to see this green jewel in the heart of Nottingham.

Gardeners at St Ann’s Allotments have until 30 July to enter the competition and the winners will be announced on 20 August. For full details please email allotments@renewaltrust.org.uk or call 0115 958 9255.

To find out more about the competition and help choose the site’s Best Allotment 2020 follow St Ann’s Allotments and The Renewal Trust on social media.

St Ann’s Allotments recently asked allotment-holders what their allotments had meant to them during lockdown. Here are some of their responses:

“It’s been my sanctuary, I don’t know what I would have done without it.”

“I work in a hospital with teenagers with mental health problems. I love my allotment, it’s the way I relax, listen to the birds, watch the wildlife, and grow my vegetables. It’s a great achievement to be able to grow from scratch and then be able to put it on your plate. It’s great for health, wellbeing and your mental health. It takes you away from all the stresses and strains and relaxes your mind, I love it.”

“It’s been the perfect place to escape. Watch the birds on the feeders, the buzzards and all the wildlife. We’re catching up nicely and it’s got to be said, the plot is looking good. It’s been bliss. Actually it’s how I’ve spent most of my life – social distancing!”

“I work hard in the building industry but almost without fail go to my plot before going home to survey the goings on and relax.”

“I discovered a quicker walk to the allotments so I’m coming a couple more times a week, yomping up the hills, learning French by podcast, to do some watering after work. 3 birds with one stone!”

“It’s been an incredible source of joy, peace and decompression. We only took on the allotment just over a year ago and despaired of ever getting our overgrown plot cleared and tamed. Now it all seems much more possible. Absolutely love the discoveries and learning, yesterday we were visited by a tiny frog and the previous week I discovered a beautiful paper wasp nest in the shed. Just slowing down enough to observe the intricacies of the life of the plot is an amazing part of the current situation and something I’m determined to make part of my ‘new normal’. Love it so much, feel so lucky!”

“I can’t imagine not having the allotment. There is always something to do and you always think this is one of the finest places in the world, never mind Nottingham.”

“Being in the allotment gives an escape that lots of people don’t have at this difficult time. Although it’s hard work, the end result is really enjoyable and for the first time I have been all around the site, it’s vast and really interesting.”

“It’s been my sanctuary during these tricky times and given me a sense of purpose. Also the health benefit of regular exercise and fresh air. So pleased I took a plot on. Also met some lovely other gardeners in passing in the car park for a socially distanced catch up.”

“It’s been so lovely to spend so much time here, everyone is so friendly – an amazing break from everything – thank you for staying open!”

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