Community garden up for award

A GREEN-fingered volunteer from Plaistow who hit on a novel way of growing fruit and vegetables is in the running for a national award.

Alison Skeat, aged 45, set up the Dirty Hands community garden project near her home on the Brooks Estate in 2008.

Since there is no soil at the site, which was formerly a piece of waste ground, plants are grown in a collection of builders’ bags and raised beds.

Although she started the project single-handed, Alison estimates around 100 volunteers have worked in the garden, based in Valetta Grove, in its first three years.

Now she is in the running for an award from national environmental group Climate Week in recognition of her ambitious undertaking.

“I just wanted to grow my own fruit and vegetables for me and my four-year-old daughter,” she said.

“But I work full time and I’m a single parent, so there just weren’t enough hours in the day.

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“I thought if I could organise something like this and get other people involved it would make it easier.

“But I had no growing skills and I had never project managed anything before, so it was a massive learning curve.”

The group are always looking for more volunteers to help out and anyone who wants to get involved should email