Communities in Wales wanting to grow food for climate and health benefits will get more land to cultivate, thanks to a new project funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG).
The Community Land Advisory Service in Wales will help tackle the shortage of available land for community gardening using a £600,000 grant from BIG’s Climate Change Programme.
The cash will be used across Wales to deliver a five year project, providing specialist guidance and support to around 250 community food growing projects and 100 landowners. An estimated 5,000 people engaged in projects such as community gardens, farms, allotments and orchards will directly benefit, with health and better eating benefits going to around 50,000 people. The Service will aim to support the setting up of 75 new projects across Wales.
The Community Land Advisory Service (CLAS) is managed by the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens, which will recruit a team of three specialists to give hands on advice and support to both community groups and landowners, with further support from stakeholder and advisory groups. There will also be free online information and advice at wl.communitylandadvice.org.uk/ News of the grant was announced today at the FCFCG’s Communities Buying Land event at Bute Education Centre in Cardiff, where Katie Jones, Development Manager for FCFCG’s Welsh programme Tyfu Pobl, said: “Accessing land for community growing is a major hurdle for many Welsh communities. CLAS will act as a catalyst for both community groups and willing landowners to find the support they need to bring more land into cultivation.
“This will increase and engage more people in the production of local food in Wales, helping to reduce our impact on the climate and contributing to the creation of more sustainable and resilient communities.
"CLAS Wales will help new communities to navigate through the challenges associated with finding land, negotiating a lease and obtaining planning. It will also support landowners who are unsure about community land use. As a result we should see more community groups in operation, and be able to better support the fantastic work of established projects.“ John Rose, Wales Director for the Big Lottery Fund, said: "This award helps demonstrate the Big Lottery Fund's commitment to helping combat climate change. The money will help empower people to grow their own food which will not only help boost community spirit but also increase skills and sustainability. Projects like this form part of the wider jigsaw to improve Wales and the wider world for future generations while helping to deliver our mission of helping communities most in need."
The funding will add to FCFCG’s Tyfu Pobl (Growing People) programme in Wales, which supports and advises both existing and emerging community growing projects, enabling the sharing and transfer of best practice information, knowledge and skills. More information on Tyfu Pobl is available at www.tyfupobl.org.uk.