In a nutshell
Who are you?
Roy Howes, resident partnership member, North West Ipswich Big Local
What did you do?
We built a 24-foot square community space on our allotment.
How did it come about?
We saw how successful one had been on a nearby allotment.
To help our community come together.
What’s the benefit?
Birthday parties, schools, disabled groups, the Big Local – it’s there for everybody in the Whitton, Whitehouse and Castle Hill areas to use.
You’ve got to get the money from somewhere.
I’ve always been someone who is left to get on with things. We saw one of these huts on another allotment. We suddenly realized that if we had one of these on our plot it would attract a lot of people on there.
The main thing when you’re setting it up is to know what you want to achieve. What are you going to use it for? There are various different meetings, functions, whatever.
I’ve been lucky. My wife’s a big help. I’m not a writing person, I’m a doing person. She’s a big a driver as me of this project. When they fill all the forms in, she’s there.
Finding the money
Our Big Local and the local borough council were the two sources of funding that we needed to apply for. One was for the base and one was for the building itself.
My advice is, speak to all the areas that have councillors. Have a word with them and ask them about funding possibilities. That’s my answer to it. Get in touch with your local councillor to see if they can help. If they can’t they’ll tell you who to approach.
Ipswich Borough councillors and our Big Local Trust have got money to give you for different jobs: over that period of time we’ve had over £28,000 for different jobs: gates, 2 self-composting toilets, the shed itself, concreting inside the gates and so on.
There is so much waiting for the applications and so many things can go wrong that the waiting does go on. But you’ve just got to be patient.
We got planning off Ipswich Borough Council to put this shed up. We then had to get various quotes.
Construction and contents
A local firm managed the construction. We had a builder on the field and that took him a couple of days to lay the base. And then they put the rest up in a day and a half.
Furniture, fire extinguishers, first aid equipment, generator (with steel container to protect it from theft), two self-composting toilets, gates, 8 tables, 40 chairs and a carpet.
We can’t believe what we’ve done in the short time we’ve done it. At the moment we are now putting a proper ramp in for the toilet for disabled people.
When we opened it up they were highly delighted. Every year we have an annual show. We have over 150 entries, all the entries are taken to the hospice cancer ward in Ipswich. Flowers and veg, but people can put a cake in if they want.
If somebody from another area is really interested, then they can come down here and we can talk through what they might need. We’ve had so many praises for what we’ve done.