A man who runs an allotment restoration programme with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, in the village of Neston, has been given £250 for the project by Wessex Water.

Norman King, 58, of Westwells, has lived locally all his life and started restoration work at the Jaggards Lane allotments three years ago, with New Highway’s drug and alcohol recovery project.

A former alcoholic, Mr King, who gave up alcohol 18 years ago, aims to give recovering addicts something to focus on and also improve quality of the allotment.

He said: “I was born and bred in this area and I remember, when I was a lad, how good the allotments were, before they became a goat field and then finally a rubbish dump.

“I was walking down Jaggards Lane with a mate one day and thought we needed to get the allotments back to a good standard.”

Every Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Mr King takes five volunteers, who are recovering from addiction, to the site.

The group is having a documentary made about it, which will be released later this year.

He said: “We are one big happy family at the allotments. We don’t talk drugs or alcohol, we just meet and chat about everything and anything.

“We meet at the weekend, because recovery doesn’t stop at 5pm on Friday night and take the weekend off. It is 24 hours, seven days a week. The weekend is a vital time, when those recovering need something to occupy their time.

“Last year, when the veg started growing, it was weird to see how everyone’s focus suddenly changed. I think that was because they realised what they were doing was worthwhile, as they’d been instrumental in growing the carrots and growing the beetroot.”

On Monday, Mr King and his volunteers were presented with a £250 cheque by Wessex Water, as part of the Wessex Watermark Award, in partnership with the Conservation Foundation to reward environmental projects.

The money will go towards water containers.

Corsham Food Bank member Mr King is also keen to hear from people wanting to take part in the group’s work or donate equipment.

He said: “Addiction is the great remover, because it removes everything of worth. Gardening is a social activity with rewarding end results. It’s great to have this support from Wessex Water, as well as our landlord, who gave us the land rent free in the first year.

“From the work we do, some people have even got jobs, which is a very rewarding thing, and I really enjoy supporting these guys through difficult times in their lives.”

For more information about the recovery group’s work in Neston, call Mr King on 07710092728.