Coronation Street star promotes lottery awards at allotment project

Simon Gregson (Coronation Street's Steve McDonald) has swapped the Rovers Return for an allotment with a as he lent his support to Growing Newsome - up for UK's Best Environment project in this year's National Lottery Awards.

The community allotment in Huddersfield, opened its gates for the soap star who was introduced to Co-founder Diane Sims and some of the volunteers – many of whom have long-term health conditions.

He helped out on the allotment designed for people who want to grow food but can't manage it alone. The actor, an Ambassador for the National Lottery Awards 2015, was keen to see how Lottery players' money is making a difference in local communities. He visited Growing Newsome's new potting shed installed to provide somewhere to sit for people who struggle to stand for long periods.

Gregson said: "I wouldn't say I'm green fingered, I'd say I'm an expert in what not to do in the garden. We have a large growing patch at home that's a bit neglected, so I'm hoping to get some tips here in Newsome today. I had no idea the National Lottery contributed £34m every week to projects and this one is a great example of how that funding can really benefit a small community. They're doing a great job here."

Co-founder Diane Sims added: "We were so surprised to be visited by Simon and really hope it helps promote the project, thanks our supporters, and most importantly encourages more volunteers. It's been fantastic to have him with is today.

Growing Newsome received over £7,967 of National Lottery funding for essential materials, equipment and seeds to help set up the project.

There are seven projects competing for votes across seven categories, reflecting the main areas of National Lottery funding: arts, sport, heritage, health, environment, education and voluntary/charity.

To vote for Growing Newsome, please visit or telephone 0844 836 9679 and follow the campaign on Twitter: hashtag #NLAwards. Voting runs until midnight onWednesday 29 July.

In addition to securing their place at the National Lottery Awards show (BBC1 September), the project with the highest number of votes in each category will receive a £2,000 cash prize and an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy.

Growing Newsome is a community of food growers in Huddersfield. More than 700 enthusiasts share plants, seeds and recipes. Volunteers provide a range of vegetable plants and seeds throughout the year, run family activities and cook locally grown community lunches. A plant swap takes place each Spring.

More than 1,000 people took part in Growing Newsome's events and activities last year, with around 200 people participating in each of the major events.

The group has set up a community allotment, open to anyone who is interested in food growing but who can't manage an allotment plot on their own. Everyone shares in the work, the planning and the produce, following the Growing Newsome motto that "between us, we have everything we need".

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