A Brief History of the Allotment & Voluntary Management
1940s – 1980s
As far as local knowledge can recall, the allotment site was originally an orchard forming part of Robin Hood Farm, converted into allotments during the Second World War. The original orchard was divided by a gravel road, the remains of which are still sometimes unearthed by enthusiastic diggers on the plots! During the War, it was used in the ‘dig for victory’ campaign to grow vegetables and keep pigs. In these early years, the Kingston Vale site was managed by the local council.
1981 – 2000
In 1981, a proposal was put forward that allotments in the Borough take on voluntary management. This would be a new system where plot holders would form an Association to manage their own affairs, to become independent of the Council other than for paying an annual lease rental and for seeking grant aid. In 1982, the members of our site formed an Allotments Association with a management committee and officially took on the title of the Kingston Vale Allotment Association, the first voluntary managed site in the Borough.
Since becoming voluntary managed, we have vastly improved the site, with a new car park, lawned paths, water supply, toilets and community shed developed over the years. The toilets were considered such an innovation that they were officially opened by the then Mayor, David Smedley, in 1992! All of these developments were made possible through the securing of small grants and our own fundraising efforts, which we continue to this day.
In 1996, to reflect the changing needs and activities of our members, the association changed its name to Kingston Vale Leisure Gardeners’ Association. We pride ourselves still on our productivity combined with the leisurely enjoyment of our site, our community, and our regular events.
2000 – present
2003 saw the first year where all the plots were let and a waiting list established. In 2004 we rebuilt our two shared storage corrals for manure and wood chippings, both available to our members free of charge (the manure is supplied by our kind neighbours, Robin Hood Stables).
Our last major project was in 2005 which, with the help of a grant from the Council, provided our own community hut for meetings, training and social events. This has proved a great success, being the final piece of a visionary jigsaw for the key facilities on our site. All this hard work by the members has represented a significant change in the face of the allotments, and has formed the basis of a sound and flourishing Association as seen today.