North West Cambridgeshire MP, Shailesh Vara perused potatoes and looked over leeks as he visited a community allotment in Yaxley.

Residents in the village have the opportunity to become plot holders and grow their own fruit and vegetables whilst benefiting from an array of seasonal crops, a poly tunnel, pond and much more at the Yaxley Community Allotments.

Resident Odette Pineger, one of the leaders of the project, was the first allotment holder and has since played a key role in encouraging others to become involved. Odette continues to play a significant part along with neighbouring fruit and vegetable company RB Organic, which has provided support by donating soil for the beds and plots. The company will also be providing 16 fruit trees which will be planted later in the year at a tree planting day.

Mr Vara said: “This is a wonderful community project allowing residents to grow their own produce whilst also having an opportunity to get together socially with fellow allotment holders. Whilst plot holders benefit personally from their own produce, it is good to see that some of it is donated back to the community at the Yaxley Parish Council Community Fridge, allowing all residents who are in need, to benefit from the surplus food. It is encouraging to see this spirit of sharing, bringing the community together and reducing food waste.

“There is clearly a bright future for these allotments and I am very pleased to be supporting them. I look forward to following their progress as they grow from strength to strength.”

Councillor Kevin Gulson, member for Yaxley, said: “There is no age or disability excluded, this group have made it their challenge for the allotment to be inclusive for all. Calling themselves 'The Cuckoo Clearing' they organised their constitution, risk assessments, site layout and are organising meetings, talks and visits throughout the winter months.

“From a seed of an idea by Yaxley Parish Council, planted and nurtured by this group of people, they have grown new friendships and reaped a fantastic community spirit for themselves and Yaxley.”

Andrew Burgess, of RB Organic, said: “The Burgess Family have really enjoyed helping out with the Yaxley Community Allotment, its right next door to us so easy to engage. We've helped out with various bits and pieces but I'm really excited by the forthcoming Organic fruit tree planting day in December. I love popping round there for a chill out from the office, so peaceful and always a friendly face.”