Willoughby Road Allotment Association in Boston has received a £1,000 cash grant, thanks to local Councillor Yvonne Stevens.

Cllr Stevens (ward member for Trinity Ward) awarded the grant from her Cllr Grant Scheme – a pot of money set aside to support local community projects as part of the Empowering Health Communities Programme.

The application received was for the creation of a peaceful and reflective space for hospital staff, plot holders and public to sit and enjoy. Paul Collingwood, Chair of the Association stated in his application that after consultations with NHS workers who walk through the allotment that a public area for people to sit and enjoy would be very beneficial to many.

He said: “After talking to many health workers over the last few months who walk through our allotment their overriding concerns are to be out in the fresh air and to get away from the stresses and strains they have incurred. Also people who walk by will be able to sit and relax, read and enjoy quiet time. The area chosen to adapt was previously a derelict corner unused for many years.”

Gerry Ladds Allotment Chair and the lady with the initial idea, said: “During lockdown I was working on the allotment for twelve or more hours a day and that gave me the opportunity to meet a number of doctors and nurses who were walking to work during the height of the pandemic. We already run a number of initiatives and support community groups such as foodbank donations and sessions with the hospital nursery group and I really wanted to do something to support and say thank you to our NHS. From this the idea for Nature’s Happy Space (NHS) was born and then became a reality.”

So an old shed has been repurposed with help from a youth justice programme who have a plot adjacent. Inside the shed is now clean and tidy with a small book case. Trees and grass turf has been installed along with chairs, tables and a small pond area with solar water pumps. An edible hedge has been planted as a border and also to attract wildlife. Fencing erected at the front of the area along with raised bed planters with an arch as the entrance.

Cllr Yvonne Stevens, said: “When I received this application I was taken back with the amount of thought and ideas put into it. We all know that the Covid pandemic has proved beyond all doubt the need to improve our mental health and with this area we can help attract people of all abilities. Paul explained that a number of their plot holders are in the vulnerable category so when they visit their plots they will also be able to take time to reflect and contemplate their thoughts.

“I am so pleased I was able to help with my share of the community grant funding and I say this area now looks absolutely amazing. I’d like to thank Paul for making me aware of this and I hope everyone who visits likes it as much as I do and it allows them the opportunity to sit back and reflect on their day/week or just life itself.”

Andrew Morgan, Chief Executive for United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust said: “We are delighted that the allotments have created this amazing space that staff can enjoy. Throughout the Pandemic, our staff have worked tirelessly to look after people within their local communities and it is hugely welcome when our communities give something back to us. This space will give staff some much needed respite and it is great that other local community groups will also be able to benefit from the space.”

Also already awarded their grant funding is Cllrs Martin Griggs and Stephen Woodliffe to The Local Community Centre for installation of a hot water heater, Cllr Tracey Abbott to the Boston Woods Trust for some walking maps for both Fenside Woods and Sir Joseph Banks Country Park and the production of welcome signs at the new Dion’s Wood Nature Reserve. And Cllr Peter Bedford for £250 funding for Freiston Bowls Club to allow for embroidered badges on all members t-shirts in the hope for it to allow for the promotion of the bowling club, encouraging more members of the community to take up the sport and become more active and reducing isolation within the community. Cllr Richard Austin has awarded his to Boston Woods for translated materials.

If you are interested in applying for some funds from your local ward councillor towards funding a local project, visit www.mybostonuk.com/councillor-grant-scheme/ where you can find all the information you need and the application form.