A NEW initiative to supply a foodbank with fresh local produce has been set up in Wotton-under-Edge.

A scheme in which leftover fresh fruit and veg from allotments can be used by the local foodbank was set up by allotment holders and has proved a roaring success in the town.

Now, those behind the project are encouraging allotmenteers in other areas to do the same thing.

Allotment holder Steve Todd, of Wotton, came up with the idea after noticing that he and many of his fellow allotmenteers were growing more produce than they could use.

After Steve first came up with the idea, Wendy Lomas of Fizzypig Ltd, a Wotton-based not-for-profit organisation, became involved.

Wendy was interested in finding ways of promoting and funding local food distribution and was keen to help with the project, which Steve named 'Growing Friends and Veg'.

“I was really pleased to get involved in this project as I’ve been interested in finding new ways of helping to promote local food distribution for some time," she said.

"This seemed like an excellent place to start - we’ve been met with positivity every step of the way.”

They knew it wasn’t possible to donate fresh produce through the usual channels as the food from these is collected up, taken to Stroud for sorting and then re-distributed across the area.

Instead, they approached Stroud District Foodbank and the Wotton organisers directly and received an enthusiastic response.

Wotton Town Council helped to promote the idea to local allotment holders and collection boxes were placed at both the Knapp Road and New Road allotments. Each week since, the boxes have been filled with donations of rhubarb, plums, courgettes, herbs, potatoes, beans and lots more.

People with excess produce from their gardens have also been donating via these boxes and Wendy is now in the process of setting up an extra box at the endangered Coombe allotments, where several allotmenteers have joined the scheme.

Steve and Wendy are keen to encourage other communities to set up similar projects.

Anyone who would like to know more about the Wotton scheme and how to donate, or would like help or advice in starting up their own version of the project is welcome to contact Wendy for more information at wendy@fizzypig.org