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Tales from the Allotment (part 2)

Tim Brooks

10 Jan 2024

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In my previous article I wrote how I became Secretary/Treasurer at our Allotment Association in Burton. Nine years later and looking back it’s been an eventful time, and quite a few changes in personnel over the years too.

You do get some characters at allotment sites. Young and old. You’d probably expect allotment associations to be peaceful, non-argumentative places , where you can escape all forms of tensions and aggression. Actually they are much like any other places where humans interact! It’s not just the committee that argues and has differences of opinions, usually resulting in the ditching of some good ideas that were intended to improve the site for everyone. But even among the plot holders there are divisions.

Some avoid others over trivial things said years before. You never get total unity among allotment holders. Likewise, those running the committee never get full support from the committee members. So each time there is an AGM, you

always expect a change in the committee personnel. Running an allotment site is certainly not a popularity contest as not everyone will agree with your decisions obviously. So you’re bound to tread on a few toes. But you have to accept this and do what in your opinion, is right for the allotment site.

If you’ve still got the position a year later you have done well! In fact you can even do very well and still get voted out! Usually when someone wants your position themselves! They might think they can do it better or hold a grudge. In reality the allotment committee roles are thankless jobs, being unpaid, often having aggravation from others, time consuming and you’re also on call most of the time.

So why take them on? Well someone has to do them. It’s best that a person with a business background takes on these jobs to understand the accounts, the letter writing, dealing with plot holders problems and attending Parish Council meetings. You need to be diplomatic, understanding,

be good at writing letters and funding applications. A multi- tasker! That sort of thing. It’s not suited to everyone. I personally enjoy that sort of thing. I thrive on responsibility.

Though the arguments that occur at times, you can do without. At allotment sites there are ‘Do’ers and Takers’... some muck in and help out with site maintenance jobs. Others just do their plots and do not help out, but often are the ones demanding extra for their money!... like wanting a new shed or use the most water during the year or want more horse manure delivered on site. As long as ‘someone else’ is sorting these things out for them. You get all types of folk on an allotment site. It helps to know what profession they did before though before letting them sign the application form! Always avoid Solicitor and Management types... it makes things virtually impossible if you need to evict them later on!

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