Youth award helps Norfolk horticultural project go from strength to strength

2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Award food and farming award winner - The Patch in Sheringham. Photo: Chris Taylor Photography. 2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Award food and farming award winner - The Patch in Sheringham. Photo: Chris Taylor Photography.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014
6:42 PM

Community horticultural project The Patch has gone from strength to strength since scooping the food and farming prize at last year’s Bernard Matthews Youth Awards.

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2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Award food and farming award winner - The Patch in Sheringham. Photo: Chris Taylor Photography.2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Award food and farming award winner - The Patch in Sheringham. Photo: Chris Taylor Photography.

The Sheringham based-team impressed the 2013 judges with how they had transformed a piece of land into a smallholding project, and now the Bernard Matthews Youth Awards is hoping The Patch’s story will inspire more young people from Norfolk and Suffolk to enter the 2014 awards.

The Patch (also known as Sheringham Community Smallholding) includes pupils and staff from Sheringham High, Sheringham Primary, Sheringham Woodfields School and children’s charity Break. At the time of last year’s awards, the smallholding project had already given pupils the opportunity to grow produce to eat and sell, look after chickens and learn about sustainability.

Matt Smith, one of the group’s directors, said winning the food and farming prize had been a great boost, allowed the group to buy much needed tools, and helped to provide a springboard that enabled The Patch to win a substantial grant from the Clothworkers Foundation.

He said: “It raised The Patch’s profile. We feel we have got something amazing here and wish to share it with everybody, It’s great that the Bernard Matthews Youth Award recognised all the hard work that goes into The Patch, and it also allowed us to show our appreciation and thanks to everybody who has been involved.”

The 2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, with host, Anna Williamson. The winners of the food and. Farming award, The Patch, Sheringham Community Smallholding. Picture: Denise BradleyThe 2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, with host, Anna Williamson. The winners of the food and. Farming award, The Patch, Sheringham Community Smallholding. Picture: Denise Bradley

He added: “Some of the award money allowed us to buy better tools and drainage equipment that has allowed us to grow a lot more variety of produce such as shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, and different varieties of salad leaves.

“We have also been able to attract another award (the Clothworkers Foundation award) which has allowed us to purchase a polytunnel/greenhouse which is fully wheelchair accessible.”

He said in the past year The Patch has increased the number of people and groups involved in the project, including forming partnerships with Felbrigg Hall and Blickling Hall, and that it had also established a sensory garden.

The Patch now supplies produce to Sheringham High’s school kitchen, and in the future Mr Smith said he hoped the project would be able to provide food boxes for people in need in the community.

The 2014 BMYA food and farming award is designed to recognise an outstanding contribution by an individual or group to the agricultural and/or local food community. This may include, cooking, growing or selling food or promoting a healthy diet. The judges are also looking for unique or interesting agricultural projects, or the day-to-day delivery of agricultural excellence. For more details visit www.bmyouthawards.com

How to enter the 2014 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards

The Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, are now in their sixth year.

As well as the food and farming award, there are also sport, community, charity, arts, bravery and education categories, and each award has a £1,000 prize.

They are all open to 11 to 18-year-olds living in Norfolk and Suffolk, both groups and individuals, and young people can either enter themselves or be nominated by somebody else.

There is also a Hero Award which gives young people the opportunity to recognise an adult who in their eyes is a real young people’s champion, and the prize for this award is a special trophy.

The 2014 awards winner will be revealed in a ceremony on October 28 at Open, in Norwich, and the event will feature entertainment by young performers from youth arts centre The Garage.

The closing date for BMYA entries is Friday, August 22 at 5pm. For more information visit www.bmyouthawards.com, call 01603 706566 or follow @bmyouthawards on Twitter.

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