10th Dec, 2019

Gardening group set to get new equipment thanks to money seized from criminals

Sarah Mason 10th Sep, 2019

NEW uniforms and gardening equipment are set to be handed out to a volunteer group in Chelmsley Wood.

Gro-Organic’s Dig-It Crew was handed £5,000 from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson (PCC) through the Active Citizens Fund for the items.

The scheme awards money seized from criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act to groups aiming to reduce crime and increase community safety.

The monies can’t be used to pay for additional police officers as it increases and decreases from one year to another.

The Dig-it crew is a team of supported volunteers who give their time to improve the community by growing fruit and vegetables, care for rescued battery hens, and help fight food poverty through community cooking events and distributing food to those who need it.

The project also works to reduce social isolation and loneliness among vulnerable adults, helping to improve the local environment which contributes to reducing anti-social behaviour.

Sarah Gill, chief executive at Gro-Organic CIC, said: “All of our volunteers tell us how beneficial they find it spending time in the gardens and for volunteers who have a physical disability or a mental health diagnosis, volunteering is a way to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Increasing their confidence and enhancing their skill set.

“The money given by the PCC will help us increase the number of community gardens in the local area and support more vulnerable adults to get involved in volunteering.”

Mr Jamieson said: “It is pleasing to see how money seized from criminals can be spent making a real difference in the community.

“Transforming abandoned tracts of land into lively community gardens, gives local residents a sense of pride in their area, helping to reduce criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.

“Gro-organic was nominated for an award at my West Midlands Outstanding Citizens’ Awards in 2017.

“The project is a great example of an organisation which contributes to crime reduction and community safety.”

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