HEXHAM Town Council are raising money for a project which will match local gardeners, who don't have a garden themselves, with idle gardens for food production.

The 'Grow Hexham' project is hoping to be allocated funds from the North of Tyne Mayor's Office fund 'Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty'.

Penny Grennan, who is leading the project, said: "Grow Hexham will begin to create a circular economy in fresh food.

"Matching uncultivated gardens with gardeners from the Town Council allotment waiting list, it will combine space with skills, knowledge and time.

"The result is more locally grown produce, shared between the owner and the gardener, with any surplus going to the Community Grocery."

Coun. Grennan added: "A repair and recycle scheme for tools will repurpose garden tools that are languishing in sheds while woodworking skills shares will provide raised beds.

"Gardening skill shares, seed shares and plant swaps will all contribute to a zero carbon, zero food waste project that is of benefit to the environment and the town."

Further benefits of the project include an increase in community gardening and a reduction in allotment waiting lists, said Coun. Grennan.

They plan to employ a part-time coordinator for the project.

The North of Tyne Mayor's 'Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty' fund allocates money to projects which address food poverty and/or tacking the climate emergency.

Projects that meet the criteria are considered by the Mayor's office's panel, including representatives from the three Local Authorities, Voluntary Sector representatives, and Combined Authority representatives.

They then make recommendations for funding based on the pitches and interest in the project.

The North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, ultimately makes the final funding decisions.

Funds are then handed to Spacehive, a crowdfunding platform for projects aimed at improving local civic and community spaces, with some conditionality for each project. Once each project meets the funding threshold, the funds are handed over to the project to begin delivery.

Grow Hexham have so far raised over £1,500, and have until December 16 to raise £8,810.

Grow Hexham is a partnership project between Hexham Town Council, Hexham Community Partnership, Number 28 and The Community Grocery.

To find out more and donate, visit https://www.spacehive.com/grow-hexham