AN environmental charity has received a £140,000 windfall to flood an East Lancashire borough with more food growers.

Hyndburn charity Prospects said their initial food growing schemes have proved so popular they have qualified for both NHS and Big Lottery funding which will support two green fingered schemes across Hyndburn.

The funding is enough to guarantee the first scheme, Local Food, will continue for two years and a new scheme, Cultivate, has been granted funding for one year.

Local Food, which has been running for three years, has introduced 3,842 people to food growing and continues to spread with more newcomers each month.

Prospects, has until now, had one community food growing officer Ian Hodgson but they have since hired a second, Julie Livesey to oversee the new Cultivate project.

Ian Hodgson said the funding was granted after Prospects showed how popular food growing in Hyndburn had become.

The Local Food project has this past year attracted approximately a dozen new members a month and helped 166 people start growing food in the last quarter alone.

Ian said: “We have been working with local schools, which does help to spread the word very fast. If we get a primary school class to start an allotment then there’s 30 people straight away who have discovered the fun in growing your own food.

“Some schools evangelise the food growing projects and even set up training days for teachers.

“Then their friends and family get involved. We seem to have a lot of success. Schemes like this means there are activities and help to set people up, even in their own backyard. We can make sure anyone who wants to get started will get help. ”

Coun Ciaran Wells, who oversees environmental issues for Hyndburn Council, welcomed the scheme.

He said: “Prospects do such good in the borough, this is fantastic news. More people growing food in Hyndburn is excellent news for the environment as it helps sustainability.”