With the credit crunch squeezing wallets around the city, allotments are enjoying a welcome revival as money-savvy consumers are saving at the supermarket and growing their own produce at home.
With a resurgence in the popularity of allotments across the city, representatives from Manchester City Council are working with the Association of Manchester Allotment Societies (AMAS) to ensure that they are successfully developed to maintain a high standard for modern allotment users.
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure at Manchester City Council said: "We have had a great deal of feedback on Manchester's allotments and have listened to suggestions about how we can meet the aspirations and needs of people city-wide.
"We are undertaking a large-scale review of existing practices to see how to best deliver a first-class service for local people."
A new Allotment Officer for the city has recently been appointed and is currently carrying out an audit of all sites. Investment can then be prioritised, waiting lists updated and a city-wide allotment strategy agreed.
Councillor Mike Amesbury added: "The physical audit of all the city's allotments is well underway and will allow us to identify key priorities for existing and new plot holders."
Manchester City Council's Leisure Services are employing a similar working approach to that used to improve the city's parks in recent years by working with other like-minded organisations to help upgrade current facilities. The method has been a great success for the city's parks, with Manchester City Council having been awarded 21 green flag awards, the greatest number for any local authority in the UK.
An example of this process is Manchester Leisure working in partnership with Groundwork Manchester has secured funding from the local joint health unit and the Big Lotteries Health & Well- Being fund to target specific health inequalities in the local community surrounding Woodhouse Park allotments, this initiative aims to encourage residents to grow their own fruit and vegetables on individual or within community gardens, this project gives them access to informal training, encourages physical exercise and community involvement.
Manchester City Council is committed to invest and raise the level of investment to match the Communities renewed interest in Allotments and all the benefits that brings.
Claire Keegan, Press Office, tel: 0161 234 4014