Growing number of women and children taking up allotments in Beccles
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The allotment was once one of the last remaining male preserves where a man could retreat to tend to his marrows.
But in recent years there has been a steady increase in numbers of women and children who are looking to take on allotments to grow their own food.
The town's allotment and garden association now also has two women in high positions, with Jane Gardner as chairman and Joan Cupples as secretary.
Mrs Cupples said: 'In the past five years we sought to make changes to attract younger people and their families, especially the community projects which have brought children as well as older people together to the garden.
'Once it was all men, but there has been a steady increase in the numbers of women and children.
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'It can be tough to maintain but there are so many benefits to allotments. There have been ladies who have maybe felt isolated who benefit from the social experience, people can spend outdoor time with their kids and grandchildren, all the while producing healthy food for the family.'
The club's chairperson Mrs Gardner was just the second woman to take on a plot in the early 2000s.
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She said originally there was hostility when she first got the plot and even more surprise when she became chairman.
In recent years the association has civilised allotmenteering by the provision of waterless toilets, the extension of running water and offering plots out for rent. Among those who get involved include the University of the Third Age and Ravensmere Arc Pre-School.
There are about 20 vacant plots at present with a further 15 coming in Cucumber Lane in the near future when a housing development is completed.
People can apply for an allotment by contacting Charlie Middleton, the deputy town clerk at the town hall on 01502 712109.
He will then give them the contact details for the association rep for that site, who will arrange to meet them and show what is available.
For anyone who would like more information before making up their mind they can call Mrs Cupples on 01502 471521.