Lighthorne Allotment Association oversees the running of the allotment site of 18 plots. In April 2021 they were awarded a £500 grant through the Foundation’s Community Energy Warwickshire Fund to purchase and install a large water butt for use by the allotment plot holders.

The Community Energy Warwickshire (CEW) Fund is a grant programme for Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull enabling voluntary and community groups to embrace and encourage any efforts by communities to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and practice. The Lighthorne Allotment Association were awarded a small grant to purchase a 1300 litre water butt and ancillary parts to enable rainwater to be harvested for the allotment users.

Carol Schofield, Chair at Lighthorne Allotment Association, shared:

“Next to the allotment is a café rented from the local parish council which has a flat roof, so all the rainwater was being wasted. We thought it would be great to harvest that water because its natural rainwater and as we pay rent to the parish council which includes paying for water it’d mean we would use less of their water and more of the natural water which is far better for crops and the environment.”

The allotments provide a social outlet and exercise for members who are from the village, which was crucial during lockdown when members were still able to work on the allotments. Carol continued:

“The purpose of our group is to grow our own crops which is cheaper than buying from shops for some people, and we also do seed shares. It’s great exercise and more than anything the sense of the community is great, we have elderly members, younger families, and individual members who use the allotments. We also have socials once or twice a year – it’s lovely to meet people you wouldn’t usually meet. It all helps to reduce isolation especially after the pandemic.


“The water butt has been a great investment, it’s very big and we can use it all year round. It’s a win-win situation, we’re so grateful to Heart of England it’s made such a difference. £500 is a lot of money to us.”

Maggie Hedger, Secretary at the allotments, added:

“We are extremely thankful to the Heart of England for the grant which will enable us to make the allotments more sustainable over future years.  In terms of environmental impact we see this project as hugely beneficial.”

The grant is a great example of a small amount of money having a big impact on the local community and the environment.

If you’d like to apply for the Community Energy Warwickshire Fund, click here.