A £350,000 grant will see Blackpool residents growing their own food at a new community farm at the heart of their estate.
The farm, which will be based behind the City Learning Centre in Bathurst Avenue, Grange Park, has been given the go ahead after securing National Lottery funding.
The Big Lottery Fund cash will see a number of landscape improvements to the local area and transform the site so it can be used for community food growing.
The idea was developed by Blackpool’s Fairness Commission following extensive consultation with the local community and is aimed at improving the quality of life for those living not just in the immediate neighbourhood but across the resort.
Plans for the site include creating raised flower beds, a timber covered outdoor work area, children’s play space, a fruit growing area, poly tunnels, a fruit tree orchard and a picnic and seating area. There will be no livestock on the site.
The farm’s main aim will be to help people to improve their mental and physical health.
It will also help them develop skills that could help them in the job market.
The farm eventually aims to be self-sustaining –generating income from produce grown on site, offering educational visits, courses and workshops and commissioned services.
Dr Arif Rajpura, chairman of Blackpool Fairness Commission and director of public health said; “I am delighted that we have secured this funding from the Big Lottery.
“This is a significant amount of money which will help us realise our aspiration of a community farm for Blackpool.
“The Fairness Commission has worked tirelessly to see this farm come to fruition over the last two years.
“I am confident that it will be a fantastic asset for Blackpool communities and will help people to improve their health and wellbeing as well as bringing some people closer to the job market”.
The company Groundwork has been delivering a project called Grow Blackpool since 2009. The scheme promotes the benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables daily and enables people to grow it themselves at a number of community growing sites.
The new farm will be managed by Groundwork as part of a development group working with the Blackpool Fairness Commission – made up of public and private sector bosses and community volunteers from across the town.
Andrew Darron, Groundwork’s executive director said: “This is fantastic news.
“We hope that the farm will become a real hub of the local community and we are delighted to be involved in developing and delivering this exciting project.”
Work is set to begin shortly and the farm is expected to be fully operational by the end of this year.