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13 November 2014

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You are in: Birmingham > People > Your Community > It's harvest time with Shades of Black

Down on the allotments

Down on the allotments

It's harvest time with Shades of Black

The CSV Make a Difference Day team joined Handsworth school children and the Shades of Black allotments project for their harvest festival. See video highlights and a picture gallery of all the hard work.

On the allotments with Shades of Black

On the allotments with Shades of Black

Pupils from six primary and infant schools in the Handsworth area have been working hard with the Shades of Black allotments project.

Throughout the year the children have been sowing, weeding, planting and growing a variety of vegetables including cabbages, beetroot, parsnips, pumpkins, garlic, sweetcorn and much more.

October is harvest time and the school children visited Uplands allotments for the final time to help prepare the for the winter months and set things up for planting and seed time to take place again next March.

On the allotments with Shades of Black

On the allotments with Shades of Black

Learning about their environment

Wilkes Green Infant School have been working with Shades of Black since 2000. Teacher Isabelle Ellis says going to the allotments has made the children more aware of their environment.

“The children now appreciate what they eat more and it encourages them to do a bit of planting around the school and at their own homes. Working with the older volunteers also helps to improve their relationships with adults.”

Shades of Black Vegetables

Shades of Black Vegetables

CSV joins Shades of Black

On Tuesday 17th October a group of CSV volunteers joined Shades of Black as part of the Make a Difference Day campaign to help pick, wash and box vegetables for a special harvest festival held at Rookery School on Wednesday 18th October, where the children distributed boxes of vegetables to the elderly in the area.

Shades of Black Co-ordinator Mrs McGhie-Belgrave has been running the community allotment project since 1985 and looks forward to the harvest festival every year:

“Throughout the year the children have been planting and nurturing the vegetables.

Mrs McGhie-Belgrave

Mrs McGhie-Belgrave

“This year hasn’t been a good planting year for many of the vegetables but I think the children have enjoyed themselves,” says Mrs McGhie-Belgrave.

BBC WM and CSV are making a difference in Lozells and Handsworth

BBC WM and CSV are working together on a three week Make a Difference Day campaign between 9th – 28th October based in Handsworth and Lozells, highlighting the positive work that's going on in the area.

CSV Action Desk producer Maggie Smith helped co-ordinate the volunteering day with Shades of Black and really enjoyed pulling up the sweetcorn and picking the pumpkins.

On the allotments with Shades of Black

Maggie Smith on the allotments

Maggie explained: “It’s lovely being out in the fresh air on the Uplands allotments with all the different smells. I was brought up on a farm in Ireland so it brings back some great memories.”

BBC WM presenter Danny Kelly popped down to the allotments during his lunchtime show to see how the volunteers were getting on. Being an ex-chef Danny couldn’t pass up the opportunity to cook some of the freshly picked vegetables on a barbeque.

Listen to Danny interview Mrs McGhie-Belgrave and cook his vegetables live on the allotments.

Listen here

Barclays Bank support Make a Difference Day and community project manager Lisa Kennedy also came along on the day to lend a hand.

Danny Kelly and Mrs McGhie-Belgrave

BBC WM Danny Kelly and Mrs McGhie-Belgrave

Lisa commented: “We’ve been picking all sorts of vegetables and boxing them ready for the harvest festival. It’s really lovely being outside in the fresh air and not stuck in the office.”

Aston Villa defender Mark Delaney also popped down to see how the volunteers were getting on.

See the highlights

Take a look at a picture gallery and see video highlights of all the hard work done by the school children, Shades of Black volunteers and the CSV Make a Difference Day team over the three day harvest with Shades of Black.

See the highlights below

Mr Fuller and fellow volunteer

Mr Fuller and fellow Shades of Black volunteer

Bridging the generational gap

Shades of Black was set up in the aftermath of the Handsworth riots in 1985 by a group of elderly Afro-Caribbean women who were committed to developing the skills of young people and encouraging more interaction between the older and younger generation.

Mr Fuller is one of the many dedicated Shades of Black volunteers and enjoys spending time on the allotments.

Mr Fuller says: “I’ve been a volunteer with Shades of Black since the project began. I'm retired now and I really enjoy coming up to the allotments to get a bit of exercise and socialise with the other volunteers.”

Skills for life

Mrs Eunice McGhie-Belgrave was awarded an MBE in 2002 for her services to the community. She explains:

On the allotments with Shades of Black

On the allotments with Shades of Black

“If the children know where their fruits and vegetables come from and help to grown them they will understand how nice it is to eat the fresh ones rather than the pre-packed.

“It’s so lovely to see the youngsters enjoying themselves on the allotment, it takes them out the classroom and they will have basic skills for the rest of their life.”

Visit the Shades of Black website for more information.

last updated: 30/09/2008 at 19:00
created: 20/10/2006

You are in: Birmingham > People > Your Community > It's harvest time with Shades of Black



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