CO-FOUNDER of the ‘Incredible Edible’ movement Pam Warhurst CBE told members of Ambleside Action for a Future recently about how the community food growing initiative began 11 years ago in Todmorden, Yorkshire.

The event at Ambleside Parish Centre included locally sourced food from Rattle Ghyll cafe for the audience and was held in conjunction with SLDC and Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS), also using joint funding from 'Space to Connect' provided by the Co-op Charity Foundation and the Dept for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Incredible Edible takes over unused or unattractive bits of public land to plant food to feed the community in what are called propaganda gardens, sited outside police and fire stations or doctors’ surgeries, or any public location with under-used land.

The idea arose in response to hard economic times including job losses, cutbacks, austerity and local poverty in Todmorden, and organisers hoped providing free food grown by all would lead to a kinder, more confident and connected community.

Incredible Edible has been adopted by communities all over the world including 170 in the UK.

This was followed the next day by a second Community Conversation between people interested in community growing, who came up with practical ideas such as planting community orchards with apples trees which would act as pollinators as well as providing free fruit, and the boundary of the Kelsick playing field was thought to be suitable, following research into soil quality, to be planted and cared for by children.

Twelve proposals were voted on for possible adoption, the most popular being community tree planting, window-box growing, using existing planters for food growing and establishing Incredible Edible growing sites, cultivated by students on the university campus land.

Other suggestions included a community compost heap and three training workshops by experienced growers.

Anyone interested in getting involved or who have gardening tools no longer used or spare garden space, contact Gillian Kelly on 015394 33903 or e-mail

GRANTS totalling £61,341 were approved for individuals and the three local primary schools by Kelsick Educational Foundation trustees at their recent quarterly meeting, to support Lakes Parish children and young adults up to the age of 25 at school, college and university.

The grants include £800 subsistence for HE students during each year of their university courses, plus a one-off first year grant of £300 for a computer.

Subjects being studied by local undergraduates and postgraduates include medicine, biomedical science, earth science, food science, nursing, sports rehabilitation, maths, human geography, banking and finance and film production.

Funding will also contribute towards the cost of tuition in climbing, skiing, riding, sailing, gymnastics, football and jiu-jitsu, and music lessons in piano, drum, brass, horn, cornet and dance lessons.

Kelsick has also helped provide a sports coach for Our Place youth club at the parish centre.

Help with educational travel included a £100 grant for all post-16s in sixth form or further education as well as the cost of school visits, overseas placements and special projects.

Children’s learning at Ambleside, Langdale and Grasmere primary schools has also been supported and funding has been given for extra help for children with special needs as well as backing excellence in young people showing exceptional skills or talents.

Grants are funded by assets including income from Kelsick’s 47 domestic and commercial properties in Ambleside and funding has been continuous for generations of young people since John Kelsick’s will of 1723 when he left provision for a school and schoolmaster for the education of young people under 25.

Applications are considered quarterly in February, May, August and November but must be received by the last day of the preceding month.

Application forms are at or by contacting the clerk Peter Frost on 015394 31289 or by visiting the Kelsick Centre in St Mary’s Lane, Ambleside.

THE Rotary Club of Ambleside is donating £750 to Paddlers for Life, a charity aimed at those with experience of cancer, especially breast cancer, and their families.

The charity has two dragon boats based at Low Wood Water Sports Centre and aim to buy an additional boat.

The group paddles most Sunday mornings from spring to autumn, not only as a social occasion, but also because paddling helps promote strengthened muscles following cancer treatment.

PICTURES by Ambleside Art Society members Peggy Robinson and Jennifer Doughty are on display this month in Ambleside Library’s community room.

Peggy Robinson, who exhibits locally and has a life-long interest in art, is self-taught, painting flowers and landscape mainly in watercolours but also trying pastels as a challenge.

Jennifer Doughty used to be a ‘weekend’ painter but having more time allowed her to paint more regularly using various media and often a decorator’s brush to produce colourful, semi-abstract, unconventional images, inspired by the beautiful surrounding countryside.

THEATRE Voices, a community singing group from Ambleside, held a very successful fundraising Autumn & Winter Concert entitled ‘A Winters Tale’ on November 30 at St Marys Church, Ambleside.

A full house was treated to a variety of songs, readings, and solos together with a very moving Acapella version of Gaudete and £680.00 was raised for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Allison Peak thanked the groups musical director Gary Adams for arranging the concert in aid of ARUK.

Alzheimer’s Research UK powers world class studies focusing on prevention, diagnosis and treatments for dementia.

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this number is expected to rise to over 1 million by 2025.

Simon McDermott, Regional Fundraising Officer at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “We’re so grateful to the Ambleside community for supporting Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“Dementia affects a significant proportion of the population – one in three people over 65 in the UK will die with some form of the condition

“ Fantastic fundraising efforts like this, not only help to bring people together but will help us to make life-changing research breakthroughs for people with dementia.”