Affiliated to R.H.S & N.S.A.L.G.
President Steve Baker
What does the Allotments Association do?
As well as managing the Allotment Site, which has 70 plotholders renting a mix of half and full plots (all accessible by tractor paths and all with easy access to water) and 24 polytunnel plotholders the Association runs a successful trading hut, organises an Annual Flower and Produce Show, also an Annual BBQ (from which profits are donated to a local charity) and offers members the chance to purchase seeds at discounted prices from the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardener's seed scheme. In addition two years ago the association offered members a further opportunity to purchase heavily discounted seeds from Thompson and Morgan and this has now become permanent offer. As well as the plotholders there are an additional 270 Garden Members of the Association
Allotments Association is affiliated to the Royal Horticultural Society and has in the past exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show and the Hampton Court Flower Show. In 2006 one of our plotholders was placed second in the Gardening News / National Allotment Gardener's Trust Best Plot competition. Also in 2006 The Association was awarded a Webmasters Certificate for its webpages www.capelallotments.co.uk. The Association is grateful to www.onesuffolk.co.uk who host the Association's webpages. Again in 2006 the Allotment Site was one of the runners up in the Kitchen Garden / National Allotment Gardener's Trust Best Allotment Site Competition. One of our committee members represents the Association at meetings of the Suffolk Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, the Suffolk County organisation of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners. More details can be found at www.suffolkallotments.org.uk
The Association supplies a gardening based contribution to the monthly village magazine Capel Capers and is involved in village fund raising events from time to time. This article is also circulated to Association members via email and is also available on the website.
The allotment site is owned by the Parish Council and over the years a good working relationship has developed between the Council and the Association. Rents are currently £16 for a 10-rod plot. However, if a plotholder attends a "Work-In", when site maintenance work is undertaken, at least once a year (two are organised each year) he or she receives a £6 rebate. In addition plotholders and members pay an annual subscription of £4.00. The Association is a strong supporter of the aims of the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, affiliating all of its members takes £2.00 from every £4.00 membership received.
Over the years horticultural machinery has been purchased by the Parish Council and from profits from our trading activities. A rotovator and a cultivator are available for hire, small petrol mowers are available for cutting grass paths between plots and larger grass cutting equipment is used by suitably trained volunteers to maintain the tractor paths and grassed areas.
The sales hut has a product range of some 150 lines and our enterprising stores manager is constantly looking for new product lines at competitive prices.
The Annual Flower and Produce Show is the highlight of the Associations year and is seen as a major village event for Capel and has grown to be one of the major shows in the area. The Show schedule has about 120 classes and in our best year we achieved in excess of 600 entries. All exhibitors are welcome and entry is open to all classes except for one special group for Capel residents only.
We may be small compared with many associations but have achieved much and attempt to strive constantly to improve our organisation. Our Millennium project was to install a site toilet, at the time quite a rarity on allotment sites. In 2005 a polytunnel was purchased and erected by members. The poly tunnel provides 24 six by eight foot plots that are available for renting by members at just £6.00 per year. For 2009 / 2010 the Association is developing a nature area in conjunction with the local primary school which will feature a wet area with staging for pond dipping.
To be fair there are increasing pressures and concerns for the Association. To address Health and Safety issues we are introducing training scheme for plotholders who operate machinery, our insurance cover has become subject of an annual review rather than a straight renewal. One committee member has had to be appointed as having responsibility for children, a condition of hiring the village hall. A keen eye is kept on the journal of the NSALG for updates on matters such as new legislation, insurance problems. Helping run voluntary groups is becoming an increasing challenge, one hears of volunteers giving up in rather than tackle the problems generated in helping organise something that once was a pleasurable hobby. Much information is also gained by networking with other local allotment groups. Also like many other allotment groups we only let half plots to new comers to help satisfy the increasing demand for plots.
How do we do it?
With a Chairman and Committee of many years experience and with the support of the Association members we attempt to carry out activities not only to support the Allotments Association but also the community of Capel St. Mary and the surrounding area.
For further details of Capel St Mary Allotments Association please Email our General Secretary