Garden And Gardener

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Allotment waiting lists

by Diane - January 22nd, 2013.
Filed under: allotment.

Allotment waiting lists

What happens when you run out of people on your waiting list.

One of two things could have happened:
Your local authority has ploughed up 30 acres of land every year for the last year and everyone who might ever want an allotment has not got one.
The bad weather in 2012 has put people off the idea of being outside with a spade.

You need to work on your waiting list to build it up so that you always have someone on the list ready to take over a plot.

Some people get off put when they see the state of the plots they are offered.
What can an allotment group do to help? They could strim, clear and get the plot ready for planting. But if someone is unwilling or unable to do this clearing work themselves then they might not be suitable for an allotment.
Some sites might offer to help newbies get started.

Some people don’t like the cold weather, the wind, the rain, the snow, actually they don’t like being outdoors yet. They’ve just not realised. This sort of person lurks on the waiting list confident that they will be too old and infirm by the time they get offered an allotment.

If you have people who don’t want to take on a full plot then divide up a plot. Getting several people on to a plot is one way of dealing with the issue of the hard work. You might find people drop off after doing a bit, but that others might be keen to take on more plot!

Some people will be so eager they’ll come down to the site at every opportunity and ask to look at vacant plots. Whilst some on the committee will think these are a nuisance, I don’t! I think this level of enthusiasm is what is needed and is essential if they’re to tackle a bad allotment plot.

Increasing the waiting list
Advertise on your local supermarket notice board. This worked for our site. It is free to advertise too, you just write out a little card and it goes on the board for a week. Keep adding the card until you’ve got some people on the list.

Ask the local press or radio station if they’d like to do a story about empty plots and no one on the waiting list.

Ask at other local allotments for people on their waiting list. Share lists. If they have lots then it might be just because it’s a better known allotment site.

Ask the council to make sure they add your site to their lists so that when people enquire with them they’ll know.

Do a leaflet drop on the streets near your allotment. This can be a great way to ask for old paving slabs and water barrels too – combine it with a reminder about who they have to see to go on the waiting list.

Speak to your local councillors to see if they know anyone interested. They can add their contacts to advertise your site too!

Use facebook to find new people interested in allotmenting.

You could consider asking local guide or scout groups if they’d like to have a plot – but bear in mind extra children on site will cause upset amongst those who like peace and quiet, and may cause problems if they are not supervised properly. It will also impact on your own site’s liability insurance so check with them first about the financial impact.