TWO inspirational dads are celebrating this week following the completion of phase one of the volunteer-led transformation of the Autism Allotments.

The project was co-funded by local couple Michael and Paul Atwal-Brice late in 2023 with work beginning on site in February this year.

Their oldest boys, Levi and Lucas, now 18, are autistic and have epilepsy and other disabilities.

They have been campaigning for years to support families like theirs - and the allotments, on Togo Street, are being used to help local people.

Supported by a team of volunteers, headed up by Izzy Nayler, who heard about their ambitious plans on social media, the team drafted in help from local businesses, groups, and individuals and cleared the site. Over 30 tonnes of fly tipping was removed by the council after being piled up by volunteers

It’s estimated the value of volunteer hours, fundraising and grants towards the project has totalled £70,000.

Paul said: “We’ve been really touched by the generosity of local people who have come forward to support us.

“From the individual volunteers and fundraisers to the donations of time, machinery, and materials, we wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

“Thank you so much to everyone who has helped us to create a lasting legacy for the local community.”

Michael added: “We wanted to create a calming space for autistic people and people with additional needs to be able to come, experience gardening and being outdoors, and feel really safe and included.

“This is only the start now everyone can see what can be achieved with the support and dedication of volunteers.

“The next phase is ‘Accessible Allotments’ with more opportunities to grow plants and explore the garden and learn important life and work skills.”

Wednesdays between 10.30am to 2.30pm are volunteer days, with plenty of tasks including watering, weeding, general maintenance all needed.

A parent and carer support group also runs each week from 10am to 12pm and all are welcome.