A NEW telephone helpline for people bitten by the grow-your-own fruit and vegetable bug is to be officially launched later this month.

It has been set up by a group from the South Lakeland Action on Climate Change organisation as part of Kendal achieving Transition Town status.

The new number - 07980-325804 - will be officially launched at the United Reform Church Hall, Highgate, on Wednesday March 24, at 7.30pm.

It will be available for anyone in South Lakeland wanting any advice on growing their own fruit or vegetables. The launch will also feature a seed swap for everyone to bring their spare seeds to share.

“We are often told by the media experts how easy it is to grow-your-own fruit and vegetables, and I know how much fun it is,” said Ros Taylor, who is co-ordinating the group. “ However, we do have our own challenges here in Cumbria, not least the high rainfall and much shorter growing season than they have down south. We want to give new growers a good start, and help those who just need a guiding hand through a particular problem.”

Kendal has been formally launched as a Transition Town at a meeting in the Shakespeare Centre attended by Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron and Kendal Mayor John Bateson.

“The intention is to try to get a wide range of people in the community thinking and planning towards what Kendal would be like in a low oil environment,” said Chris Rowley, chair of South Lakes Action on Climate Change, Towards Transition (SLACC TT). ”Effectively oil will disappear and it will have huge implications on the town.

“If we didn’t have oil to maintain our way of life, we would need a hundred personal slaves to do the work that oil does for us in things like cooking and driving our cars.”

The meeting asked the 50 attendees what they thought life would be like in Kendal in 20 years time and what steps they believed should be taken to try and create carbon-free businesses and homes.