Setting up an Allotment Association and what's in it for you?
Did you know you only need a small group of people to go to their local council and request an allotment and the council have a duty to provide?
Have you ever thought about setting up an allotment association but don't know where to start? Then maybe we can help.
There are many advantages to being part of an allotment association, it's a great way to get to know more people, gain a wealth of knowledge, hints and tips and many find that they are taken more seriously by their local Councils when trying to accomplish changes. Allotments have not been the top priority with Councils in the past, but allotment gardening is becoming more popular than ever and they have started to realise their importance and take much more of an interest.
Councils need to be kept informed as to what is happening on your site, for example you may have many neglected plots and wish to see them given to people on the waiting list, or have a problem with rubbish or vandalism. Sitting down at an association meeting with your fellow plot holders helps to bring any problems to the surface. Associations can self-manage a site (with Council approval) or run it jointly, either way they can be nothing but beneficial to all.
As an association you are able to secure funding from certain organisations to help towards projects or improvements to your site. In order to secure any funding that might be available to you, ideally a minimum of six members are needed to form an association.
Elect a committee i.e. Chairperson, Secretary, and a Treasurer, decide on a contact address and phone number/e-mail and arrange to have regular meetings, it’s always helpful if you can take minutes at these meetings. You will also need a Constitution; this just basically sets out your aims as an association (SWCAA can provide you with a template which can be adapted to suit your needs) this will be required by organisations that provide funding.
Charging a small fee to join your association you will be able to open a bank account, into which any funds can be paid. Associations joining fee can include membership to the SWCAA (South West Counties Allotment Association). This money can then be "ploughed" back into your site where it’s needed the most e.g. restoring pathways, clearing plots, communal composting areas and maybe even setting up a site shop for swapping seeds/plants etc.
Adopting the constitution
After your groups Management Committee have discussed, agreed and adopted your Constitution you can then arrange a meeting with the local Council/Land owner that owns the site and inform them of your intentions to start an association, most Councils will be very happy for you to do this. Good luck!
Some of these procedures can seem a bit daunting if you don't know where to start, so please contact us we are here to help. You can find further information on this subject in our member’s area.
We are not able to provide legal advice but we can sometimes put you in touch with organisations and people who can help you.
Information on Tenancy Agreements, Constitutions and funding etc. are also available on our website, you will find these useful when setting up your Association.