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A community gardening group in Walsall that helps vulnerable and isolated people has received funding from the police and crime commissioner.

Borneo Street Allotments have received £900 from the PCC to buy new equipment.

The money, which can’t be spent on police officers, has been taken from criminals and is being ploughed back into community groups as social restrictions ease.

Despite large numbers of adults in the UK getting vaccinated and the lifting of some lockdown restrictions, some people are more prone than others to feeling anxious about socialising for the first time in many months.

Access to outdoor activity provides a safe space for people to come together, whilst learning new skills. Borneo Street Allotments are working with a number of partners to ensure the most vulnerable people have access to the projects.

Some of the activities include a hanging basket class, setting up a seed library, and messy art classes for children.

A number of gazebos will be bought with the money, which will mean being able to welcome more guests to their outdoor classes, whilst being both socially distanced and protected from the weather.

These gazebos will also be used as a facility for non-profit businesses to hold stalls at the groups’ public open days, which has previously hosted as many as 600 attendees.

This is especially important as we emerge from the pandemic, a time where lots of smaller businesses have suffered.

“It is fantastic that community groups, such as Borneo Street Allotments, are not only continuing to support their local community, but also provide a lifeline for small businesses after what has been an incredibly difficult time”, said West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster.

“With the successful vaccine rollout across the UK and lockdown restrictions easing it can be easy to forget that nervousness and anxiety around socialising, particularly indoors, can still be high in a lot of people.

“I am really pleased that we have used cash, seized from criminals, to help Borneo Street Allotments support more people from the community to socialise safely outdoors, whatever the weather.”

Christine McCreery, Borneo Street Allotments organiser, said “Borneo St Allotments is very proud to have received support from the Community Initiatives Fund.

“During the Covid crisis we realised that there would be an ongoing real need for healthy, safe, inexpensive outdoor facilities to enable people to meet up.

“This money will enable us to welcome more guests to attend our site events in a socially distanced manner without having to also worry about the effects of hot sunshine or summer showers.

“We regularly invite non-profit making groups free of charge to attend our open mornings. Very few have proper stalls and weather protection and we only have limited under cover space. The gazebos will very much assist us in welcoming the community to enjoy our site, whatever the weather.”

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