A £456 sponsorship from the community-based Housing Association has funded the provisions for over 1,500 free potatoes for people in Annan and the surrounding areas.
Thanks to the funding, Rotary members in Annan have been able to team up with local groups and charities to help alleviate hunger and support those most vulnerable in the community.
The initial group of like-minded individuals began by growing potatoes themselves with the idea of delivering them, free of charge, to lunch clubs and elderly residents.
Jim Ferguson, Annan & District Rotary Club member who launched the initiative, said: “I love gardening but with my Loreburn property being a flat, with no outside space, my fingers are not very green anymore.
“That’s why l came up with the idea of the Rotary Club growing a few bags of potatoes to distribute to vulnerable people within our catchment area – mainly in Annan and Gretna.
“From this, the initiative just kept growing. With the backing of local charities, hundreds of potatoes are now being grown meaning even more people can benefit.”
With only a small number of members the club has had an impact far beyond its size, amplifying its efforts by encouraging local charities and businesses to join the initiative.
The money has enabled the project organisers to buy potato growing bags, compost and potato seeds, which have now been given to local partners.
Jim continued: “Rotarians are always seeking out ways to serve communities and ultimately to change lives.
“Food insecurity is a major concern in our region, but ensuring vulnerable people have access to fresh, local produce is a step towards addressing this.
“All potato growing bags, compost bags and seed potatoes have been handed out and are happily growing – ready to be harvested in a few months’ time.
“We’d like to thank everyone at Loreburn Housing Association for their continued support.”
As a part of the initiative, Lady’s Well, Loreburn’s Later Living Development in Annan, were donated two bags of potatoes which, once grown, will be shared amongst tenants.
The venture has been supported by: Caledonia Park, Gretna; Kate’s Kitchen, Annan; The Devils Porridge Museum, Eastriggs; and Queensberry Bay Leisure Park in Powfoot.
Hazel Thompson, manager at Kate’s Kitchen, said: “Kate’s Kitchen is delighted to be a part of the Annan Rotary Club Community Initiative.
“Our Wednesday Garden Group have already planted some of the donated seed potatoes. We’re looking forward to seeing the results and are happy to share the crop with the public.
“We are also grateful to know that we will have enough potatoes to see our community café through the winter.”
Caroline Smith, Loreburn’s Community Team Manager for the East, said: “We’re pleased to have been able to help Annan Rotary Club deliver this initiative, especially in a time of unprecedented community need.
“Their response to food insecurity in the region will help to provide much needed support to not just Loreburn residents, but to those most vulnerable in the area.”
Annan and District Rotary Club is encouraging anyone willing to use their time, talents, and energy to improve the lives of people in the local community to get in touch.
Email [email protected] or visit their Facebook page @annanrotary for more information.