A unique community allotment has been created in Letchworth aimed at encouraging families to grow their own sustainable produce.

The Educational Allotment - at Woolgrove Allotments on the Jackmans Estate - was conceived by environmental group Transition Town Letchworth, a group of volunteers who campaign to make Letchworth more sustainable.

Last week TTL submitted a presentation to North Herts District Council, which has thrown its support behind the project, converting a vacant space at Woolgrove into the town's first Educational Allotment.

TTL has also been backed by the Letchworth Heritage Foundation, which has provided a grant to fund a small shed, tools and raised beds. The project team are using freecycle - a non-profit network of reusable goods within local communities - and are asking for any unwanted garden tools in a bid to keep as low a carbon footprint as possible.

Project leader Diane Ketcher said: "Our aim is to take this currently vacant allotment and turn it into productive growing space by passing on skills and knowledge to local families living on the Jackmans Estate, helping them to eat well for less.

"The project is specifically aimed at families in order to provide them with valuable time together, undertaking a healthy, low cost, shared activity which we hope will be very productive. We also hope this will interest families with special needs children, as we are aware that outside activities like growing and planting are particularly beneficial to health and wellbeing."

The site has been covered over the winter to suppress the weeds, ready for planting in the spring - and will be maintained using organic methods without the use of pesticides.

Some of the organic methods families will learn about will include creating compost and feeds using natural, wildlife-friendly techniques.

TTL plan to work with up to four families during the first year, growing produce to sustain their diets, and once a week the project team will be on hand for guidance and help with maintenance.

Families who are interested in getting involved in the free project can email Transition Town Letchworth at ttletchworth@gmail.com, or phone project leader Diane Ketcher on 07908 609245.