The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is funding a volunteer group in Chelmsley Wood which transforms neglected land into vibrant community gardens.

David Jamieson has given £5,000 to fund new uniforms and gardening equipment for the Gro-Organic Dig-it Crew.

The Dig-it crew are a team of supported volunteers who give their time to improve their local area

The project is funded through the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Active Citizens Fund, a scheme which awards money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act to groups aiming to reduce crime and increase community safety.

The funds can’t be used to pay for additional police officers as it increases and decreases from one year to another.

The volunteers grow fruit and vegetables, care for rescued battery hens, and help counteract food poverty through community cooking events and distributing food to vulnerable groups in the community.

The project works to reduce social isolation and loneliness amongst vulnerable adults, helping to improve the local environment which contributes to reducing anti-social behaviour.

Volunteers tend to an increasing number of community growing spaces all year round across the local area. 

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said: “It is pleasing to see how money seized from criminals can be spent making a real difference in the community.

“Transforming abandoned tracts of land into lively community gardens, gives local residents a sense of pride in their area, helping to reduce criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

“Gro-organic was nominated for an award at my West Midlands Outstanding Citizens’ Awards in 2017.The project is a great example of an organisation which contributes to crime reduction and community safety.”

CEO of Gro-Organic CIC, Sarah Gill added: ‘Since 2013, the Dig-it crew have been shaping and transforming the local area.  

“All of our volunteers tell us how beneficial they find it spending time in the gardens and for volunteers who have a physical disability or a mental health diagnosis, volunteering is a way to improve their physical and mental wellbeing. Increasing their confidence and enhancing their skill set.

“The money given by the Police and Crime Commissioner will help us increase the number of community gardens in the local area and support more vulnerable adults to get involved in volunteering.”

Inspector Sharon Jones, Chelmsley Wood echoed: “This is an excellent opportunity for local residents to take part in positive community activities and is also a platform for proving new skills.

It brings people together to enjoy the safe space they live and work in, this funding will help them expand an already worthwhile activity and provide the opportunity for more people to get involved.”

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