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Gardening society folds after decline in members and pandemic

PUBLISHED: 11:58 13 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 13 August 2020

Dereham Allotments - Robin Strafford on his allotment. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Dereham Allotments - Robin Strafford on his allotment. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2015

A gardening society which has been running in mid Norfolk for 20 years has disbanded due to declining members and volunteers.

Displays of flowers at previous Dereham gardeners' show. Photo: DDAGSDisplays of flowers at previous Dereham gardeners' show. Photo: DDAGS

The Dereham and District Allotments and Gardeners Society (DDAGS) was first set up two decades ago to protect the town’s Cemetery Road allotments from development.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2020, and support had dramatically dwindled.

A statement posted on the society’s website read: “DDAGS grew to be a more diverse local society providing events and activities for our members, discount schemes and an annual horticultural show.

“With an annual programme of horticultural based events, including garden visits, talks, meetings and showcase annual event the Summer Show, the society had a very active membership of around 100 people.

A previous Dereham and District Allotment and Gardeners Society (DDAGS) summer show on August 30. Picture: Archant LibraryA previous Dereham and District Allotment and Gardeners Society (DDAGS) summer show on August 30. Picture: Archant Library

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“By early 2020 the membership had reduced quite significantly and whilst the summer show remained a jewel in the crown for the local horticultural calendar, the support for events, talks and other membership services dwindled.”

Following a meeting on February 4, members met to discuss new ideas and activities for DDAGS for the following six months. But a follow-up meeting on March 24 saw the committee come up empty handed following an appeal for volunteers to help with events and activities.

Shortly after, and in view of the lockdown, the decision was taken to suspend all activities and close the society.

It is hoped that after the coronavirus pandemic crisis, and with a resurgence in growing vegetables, the society could resume providing events and a forum for members. Meanwhile, the website will remain active and is being run by Dereham Town Council.

DDAGS, a former member of community group aboutDereham, also made a £100 donation to aboutDereham as part of its closure. The money will be used for the proposed pocket park garden off Wright’s Walk.

Dereham Town Council continues to be responsible for letting allotments. For more information ring 01362 693821 or visit the website https://www.derehamtowncouncil.info/allotments.

A discount seed scheme has also been organised. Contact Robin Stratford at derehamgardeninggroup@gmail.com or ring 01362 693285.


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