Rotherham Allotments Alliance
In 2019 the Council helped to set up a community benefit society called Rotherham Allotment Alliance (Ltd), in order that allotment tenants would have more say in the way allotments are run for their benefit.
Through a board of directors who volunteer their time for the benefit of allotment tenants, all income derived from allotment tenancies is ringfenced to provide onsite services and improvements.
Since January 2020 the Rotherham Allotment Alliance has directly managed all Rotherham Council’s Allotments on behalf of the Council and their website can be found here.
Allotment gardeners are being given the chance to have more say in how Council allotments are funded and run.
We have been working with the Rotherham and District Allotments Association in a review of the allotments service.
Following this review, a new body, the Rotherham Allotments Alliance, is being set up. This will allow allotment gardeners to self-manage all council allotment sites in the borough.
Benefits of the Allotments Alliance
The review of allotments found that where allotment gardeners manage the service themselves, benefits include a more responsive service and improved sites.
The skills and enthusiasm of gardeners can be used help to promote and develop allotments.
How it will work
The proposed Allotments Alliance would be run by and for allotment gardeners.
The Council will lease all its sites to a new community benefit society called Rotherham Allotment Alliance (Ltd). The new society will be able to raise income from rents, as the Council currently does, but will also be better placed to attract funding that the Council is unable to access currently. All income generated will only be able to be used for the benefit of allotments and their tenants.
Where sites are already managed by an allotment society, then the same society will be able to continue to operate as it does currently. The only difference will be that the Alliance will become landlord rather than the Council.
Every plot-holder will become a member of the Alliance and will own a share in the new company. This will allow them to influence key decisions the Alliance makes that affect the way allotments across the borough are managed and developed.
The Alliance will have a board of directors who will manage its affairs on behalf of members. All members will be able to stand for election as directors, and can vote in these elections.
It is hoped that all allotment sites currently owned by the Council will continue to be managed either directly under an existing society or will eventually form a new society or amalgamate with a larger site so that some societies may run more than one site within the same community. Those sites without a society will be managed directly by the Alliance.
Seven local allotment holders and two councillors have become the founder directors of the new Rotherham Allotments Alliance which came into being on 2 April 2019.
These directors are now working with council officers on the details of the handover of all Rotherham Council allotments to the Alliance.
The planned date for transfer of responsibility to the Rotherham Allotments Alliance has been extended to January 2020 to give time for everything to be handed over in an orderly fashion with as little disruption to existing tenants as possible.