Page 44 - ALG Issue 2 20202
P. 44

Northumberland, Cumbria and Durham
Glen March
0191 3866291
Mike Brannigan
0191 649 2542
   "Give me the child until he is seven
and I will show you the man"
This famous saying, attributed to both St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, and also Aristotle, has been the basis of efforts by many to engage with our young children through schools and early years participation, with the hope that these young children will continue to support membership activities into adulthood. But does the theory actually work in practice?
For a number of years, I personally worked in a joint Leisure and Education Department, where this saying was
the mantra for all forms of cooperation between the services. Over a period
of years millions of pounds was passported from the leisure service budgets to Education in the form of free or low-cost early years sports development, swimming, and general school holiday recreational activities, with the anticipation that these young children would be the future adult service users and happy to pay at a later day. Sorry – in my experience it did not happen. Perhaps the period of support given was insufficient or the children moved classes too soon and onto other interests. I believe that in order for
the child to develop deep roots in any leisure activity, as we might wish, there has to be continuous support over many formative years and not just a one-year class. This brings me nicely on to a lively debate which took place back in October at the Hothorpe Hall management development training event.
The National Allotment Society encourages and supports school’s allotment and horticultural activities
in many ways and also offers low
cost £10 membership to schools. Despite this, the number of schools signing up is low. The suggestion at
the event was that if schools got free membership and added incentives, this could improve our position. Many people at the training event had had very positive and sometimes emotional experiences of working with school children. Others had slightly more negative views, including abandoned polytunnels and raised beds at schools,
unattended school allotment plots and interested teachers gone or reassigned i.e. ‘the singer not the song’. During the debate, attention was also drawn to the many thousands of children and grandchildren of differing age groups who are already attending our existing members plots, and who are likely
to do so for years to come. First, as youngsters picking fruit, then as they grow older helping dad plant and dig up potatoes, then perhaps as teenagers doing the hard cultivation work for the old man and then possibly their own plot. Are we doing enough with and for them?
The National Allotment Society does already provide a range of leaflets to individual members and associations about taking your children to the
plot, engaging children at allotment events, encouraging wildlife interest, and many more which impact and educate children via their parents and grandparents; but could we give more direct encouragement? We would
like to hear from Northern members about how they think the Society could encourage young growers. Should it be
This is your chance to inform
through school’s membership, or could we offer benefits to the young people who help out on family plots?
Let us know your views on how you consider the Society should be investing in the future. Email: glendonmarch.
Glen March,
Northern Region Representative
            A Big Thank you!
Just to let you know that our rent increases have been withdrawn and will revert back to 2018/19 charges. This applies to all of Sunderland. We will also receive updated tenancy agreements
in July. Glen – this has been a long hard-fought battle by our Association, but through tenacity and determination and 105 emails we have won the war. A massive thank you to you Glen, and to the NAS from all at Old Penshaw Allotments.
- Happy Gardening, Ed
44 Allotment and Leisure Gardener
Welcome to our new members...
Banksfields Allotment Association
Broom Hill and District Garden & Allotments Deneside Allotment Society
3 Individual Members

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