In spring 2001, the Millfield Allotments site was in a sorry state, run down with many plots abandoned, vandalism, brambles and nettles everywhere, tumble-down sheds and broken fences.
This all changed when Sandra Todd, of Cheney Road, called a meeting in August 2001 of the tenants, with a view to taking over the site management. At that meeting the Millfield Allotments Association (MAA) was formed, with Sandra as Chair, Carol Bullen (also of Cheney Road) as Treasurer, Matt Care (of Whitstable Road) as Secretary and Alan Stanford (Arden Road) as Site Superintendent.
The MAA went into action that autumn to impressive effect, starting a programme of improvements which changed the site out of all recognition and continues to this day.
Volunteer work-days were started to attack common areas of the site, burning rubbish, hacking back undergrowth, repairing fences and improving paths and tracks.
A social side was started up, and there is now an annual programme of open days with scarecrow competitions, summer barbecues and either Guy Fawkes Night or Hallowe'en bonfire parties.
The MAA purchased a container and was then able to buy and store equipment which could be used by tenants - a rotovator, mowers, brush cutters, strimmers and fencing gear. More recently we have successfully applied for grant aid to permit the building of a toilet building (to ‘disabled access' specifications) and to put up security fencing around the site and either side of the public footpath which cuts across the ground.
Communications to tenants were improved via newsletters and a programme of open meetings and the formal AGM, and a noticeboard made available.
An area of the site was converted to be a communal picnic/social area. Regular press notices kept the local papers informed of our progress.
By 2006 the Millfield site had achieved full tenancy, but the word was still spreading and demand still growing so that now, in early 2011 we have a waiting list for plots of approx 50 names - effectively two and a bit years.
In 2007 the committee was able to support a plan to rescue the failing North Preston Allotment site off Broomfield Road, and is pleased to have been able to help this site back to full occupancy (with its own waiting list!) MAA is also at the forefront of bringing all the town sites together as a whole allotment community, organising a town-wide ‘best plot' competition in 2009 with sites judging each other's growers - so that we now have links with Stonebridge Ponds, North Preston and Ospringe sites. In 2011 we established two raised beds for the disabled and said goodbye to our secretary, Matt Care. We wish him well in his move.
If you are interested in going on the waiting list for an allotment here, please contact us at -
Sheila and Graham Lennox
Millfield Allotments Association
1 Ivy Cottages, Preston Lane
Kent ME13 8LS
01795 597 690