BOLTON’S green-fingered growers are preparing to celebrate National Allotments Week — and spread the word about the benefits of growing your own food.

The national celebration of allotments and their benefits will run from August 3 to 10 and will see sites across Bolton opening their gates to the local community.

And the Association of Bolton Allotment Societies has decided to go one better, and continue the scheme across the whole month of August with a host of activities and open days.

The first event will be an open day at the Sapling Road allotment site in Morris Green on August 3, followed by and open day and flower and veg show at the Harpers Lane site in Smithills on August 10, which will include a borough-wide allotments competition.

On August 16 there will be a vegetable show at the Trinity Methodist Church in Tonge Old Road as well as a barbecue at the Shepherd Cross Street allotments site — the same site will host a car boot sale on August 23.

Drawing the month of celebrations to a close, August 30 will see and open day at the Moss Lea allotments in Sharples as well as another open day at the Florence Avenue site in Astley Bridge.

The idea is to both inform more people about the benefits allotments can bring as well as support the society in their efforts to protect and improve the sites that exist.

David Jackson, assistant secretary of the Bolton Allotments Societies said: “Allotments not only benefit those who garden the plots, from families and school children through to working couples and retired individuals but also provide habitats for wildlife and help to keep towns and cities breathing.

“We want to throw the gates open so people can see what havens they are for people to enjoy, relax in and use as a way to meet new people.

“A lot of people seem to think it is impossible to get an allotment but we are making real efforts to provide more opportunities for people and the waiting list is now down to months rather than years.”

The Bolton society is also considering the introduction of new community allotments which would see every community in Bolton benefit from a group allotment.

These would be spaces for people who are considering applying for their own allotment to come and learn about the processes and see if it is something they would like to pursue.

Bolton Council operates 33 allotment sites, all of which have waiting lists.

People must be aged 18 and above and reside in the borough of Bolton or within one mile radius outside to apply for one.

Anyone interested can complete an application form after contacting neighbourhood services.

The fee depends on the size of the plot. Various sizes are available but an average full-size plot is approximately 250sq m which will have an annual rental charge of around £50.

For more information contact or ring 01204 844727.