Maidstone Riverside Rotary Restore Parkwood Allotments

In 2022, Fusion Healthy Living Centre partnered with the Rotary Club of Maidstone Riverside to reinstate the community raised bed allotments for use by the public. The plot had previously been a successful community project but, due to the raised beds age and lack of maintenance because of Covid-19 restrictions, it had fallen into disrepair.

The proposed project was to reinstate the beds and make the plots ready for use by individuals from the community. Fusion were able to source funding and limited specialist assistance from various sources but lacked the knowledge or man power to carry out the works. Maidstone Riverside Rotary volunteered to assist with the project, and in March 2022, commenced the clearance of the site, removing the existing dilapidated raised beds and preparing the ground for the new beds.

In April 2022 the first of the new beds was delivered, supplied by Hands of Hope, a charity that teaches people how to work with their environment. Work continued through the summer with additional raised beds provided by Cobtree Men’s Shed and soil from Communigrow, a food education charity. In October, work commenced laying the weed membrane and shingles to form the pathways between the raised beds. The beds have been spaced to allow wheelchair access where required and the shingle base laid to allow paving stones to be added to facilitate wheelchair movement when required.

Work was put on hold over the winter and restarted in spring 2023. An environmental grant was awarded to the project by Rotary District to fund a new sign, together with seating around a central cherry tree to provide an area for rest and socialising. In early June the beds were completed and are already in use.

This project is a fantastic example of organisations in the borough of Maidstone working together to support the local community. In total the members of Maidstone Riverside Rotary gave around 250 hours of their time to complete the project and in June 2023, Fusion awarded the team a “Super Hero’s “award with Sue Maidens, the CEO, saying:

The Rotary have been so important in the refurbishment of the Allotment, without them the project would not be where it is today. They have saved the day multiple times at the allotment and are incredibly hard workers.”

The project coordinators would like to thank Maidstone Borough Council, Kent Community Foundation, Lawsons Endowment for Kent, Golding Homes and Morrisons for their support and funding.