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Case study

Eccles allotment made accessible for armed forces veterans

Veterans who used an allotment in Eccles, Salford, were having a hard time accessing their beloved garden patches because paths were narrow, muddy and cluttered with rubbish. 

Users with mobility issues were finding it especially hard and reached out to ForHousing for assistance. ForHousing brought in Liberty to deliver the much-needed works as part of our social value offering as their main contractor for repairs, maintenance and gas servicing.

Liberty donated £5,000 worth of materials and staff volunteered their time to construct a paved, ramped access path to enable wheelchair users and those with decreased mobility to enjoy the area once again. This included raising the beds to aid accessibility. One was even designed and painted to look like a Royal Navy warship.

The improvements have helped those with disabilities have easier access to the allotment site, they are now able to tend to their fruit and vegetables with ease.

Vinny Neild, the driving force behind the allotment, said: “Life after service can be tough. I set up the allotment to help other veterans find a purpose and it’s great to see my dream come to life.

“We started with an old rundown plot and now, a few months on, we’ve transformed it into an allotment we can all be proud of. We’re really grateful for the support of ForHousing, Liberty and everyone in the community who has got behind this, we couldn’t have done this without you.”

A Royal Navy veteran and regular visitor Mark*, said: “It’s so peaceful here, a space you can really feel calm and also experience the banter from fellow veterans that you so miss from being in the forces. I haven’t had much experience with gardening before, so have learnt a lot whilst here as the guys share their knowledge. I look forward to my weekly visit.”

Martyn Hague, Director of Customer at ForHousing said: “It’s fantastic to see how the whole community has come together and got behind the allotment. It’s having such a positive impact – Vinny has created a unique place that’s really benefiting the wellbeing of veterans.

“We’re passionate about improving lives at ForHousing and are proud to support this project which I have no doubt will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett said: “It was a real pleasure for Councillor Kelly and I to visit the Allotments for Veterans site and see the great work that Vinny and the team are doing down there in support of our veterans.  The piece of land on Tindall Street allotments has been transformed into a haven for our veterans who want to come together to work on the plot.  I wish them every success for the future.”