Charity of the Year – Eton Avenue Growers Association

Throughout 2017 and 2018 Influence have been raising money for Eton Avenue Growers Association based in Newark. The Association took over an abandoned allotment site and are well known for helping local people with mental health issues, long term unemployment and those on long term sickness benefits.

The Job Centre and Job Centre Agencies are core clients of the allotments.  Over the years students from the Special Needs department at Magnus School, Newark, students from Education Youth Services in Newark, Nottingham, Mansfield and Lincoln and residents of Wycar Lees Care Home have been involved with the allotment.

Some people go for a few weeks on work experience, some go for a few months and many stay on to help run the place.

Groups work hard and choose which plants to grow; achieving a wildlife-friendly spot, Dig for Victory allotment, ponds, tunnels, compost loos, flowers, fruit and vegetables.

In March, the Growers joined Influence and Biffa Award staff at the International Bomber Command site to start the planting of the International Peace Garden beds.  Everyone worked together to lay out thousands of plants in the right beds before planting them up.  It was a good day and a great way to get to know the team from Eton Avenue Growers.

Influence would like to congratulate Eton Avenue Growers on their Gold Medal from the Chelsea Flower Show.  They were among over 100 growers from the UK who gave flowers to Flowers from the Farm who had a display at the Show for the first time.

Influence staff organised a charity bake-off (loaf cakes), baby prediction and Strictly Come Dancing and Grand National sweepstakes within the office and have raised £200.00 for the Eton Avenue Growers.

Last week, Influence went to visit the allotments and enjoyed an alfresco lunch on site with the Eton Avenue Growers team.  The allotment was looking really good and it was a perfect time to visit and see everything in bloom and shooting up.  Everyone was really welcoming and took Influence on a guided tour round the site.  Highlights were the rescued hens who looked very happy in their new home, the rose bed, the willow tent, Bug-ingham Palace, compost toilets and all the beautiful flowers (which gave the Influence team ideas for their own gardens).  There was even a chance to buy some plants and Gillie made some fantastic cakes which everyone enjoyed immensely – thank you Gillie!

Influence would like to wish everyone at Eton Avenue Growers every success with all their future endeavours and look forward to being involved with the team again in the near future.