Oakley's allotments were founded in 2010 on a field between the old allotments and the River Great Ouse.
The old allotments had fallen in to disuse partly because of the lack of water and also because the wild rabbits invading the field gained more from the crops than the hard working allotment holders.
The old allotment field was lost when the houses of The Furlong were built in recent years. It was obvious that there was a gathering demand for more growing spaces in Oakley and so the new allotments project was started together with an initiative introducing the concept of "garden sharing".
Allotments have enjoyed a revival in recent years following much publicity on programmes such as Gardeners' World, but also due to an increasing awareness of the need to conserve resources and follow the recently recognised "sustainability" cause.
Apart from this, allotment gardening promotes a healthy lifestyle of exercise and good diet. More than that though, it is also a great opportunity to build a healthy community spirit and a means of escape from the increasing pressures of a sometimes insane world.
We were fortunate in that Oakley Parish Council and the Sustainable Oakley Group managed to get a lease on the lower field next to Willow Vale, and so, the new allotments field started to take shape. (The far end of the field, next to the railway is the Community Orchard, which is a separately managed project).
Not only that, but funding was made available by Oakley Parish Council and by Pat Olney's Ward Fund provided by Bedford Borough Council. This means that the new allotments will be protected by rabbit-proof fencing and have a metered water supply. It is intended to install rainwater harvesters as well as encouraging sustainable methods at the site. This will all be achieved over time.
There is still work to be done but the sense of purpose, achievement and community is wonderful.