What we do
The National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG) is the national representative body for the allotment movement in the U.K. We are governed by volunteers from our regional bodies in England and Wales (the Regional representatives) and our membership is made up of allotments associations, societies and federations, schools, councils, landlords and individuals; although the majority of our members join through their allotment association.
Through our membership we serve over 125,000 allotmenteers, assisting them to acquire, maintain, manage and enjoy allotments across the country.
Click here to view our portfolio of policies on the issues that underpin our work.
Regional network: We have a regional network of Representatives and Mentors who can give advice and support to associations, councils and plot-holders; to read details about some of the work that we do please have a look at the Regional focus page in this section.
Legal Advice: Allotment gardening is the only recreational activity enshrined in law, meaning that through our in-house lawyer, we fight for the rights of allotment holders and advise in regards to tenancy agreements, land disputes, rent rises and misunderstandings. For example - recent advice given to a member site in Wales resulted in the council reconsidering their decision to close the site. The site had been flooded and there were fears of contamination, reluctant to do a soil survey, the council had made plans to move the plot-holders. But once they had been informed of the process that they must go through to close a statutory site – which included obtaining proof that the site was contaminated, the council carried out the survey and discovered that the land was not contaminated and the plot-holders could carry on gardening.
Where affiliate members contact NAS regarding legal issues relating to their Association, we would have a conflict of interest and the member would be informed of this during the conversation, however it would be possible to speak to the Association on behalf of the affiliate member providing we have their agreement.
Allotment Disposal: As part of the Government policy criteria on disposal, the newly issued guidelines from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) advise that councils who are considering selling allotment land are obliged to seek the opinion of the National Allotment Society. Our views will be considered by the Secretary of State but will not be conclusive as to whether consent is granted or not.
Consultation with the National Allotment Society is likely to be more constructive when it is done at the point disposal is being considered as an option, as the National Allotment Society can advise councils on a number of matters including possible alternatives. We would also encourage councils to consult with us before obtaining councillors’ agreement to the proposed disposal application.
If disposal is granted the Society can act on the sites' behalf to make sure that any alternative provision is adequate and meets the statutory requirements around size, distance from original site and accessibility.
The Society is keen for communities to act together to protect their sites before disposal is considered and we have put together some advice for plot-holders Protect your Plots.
Support for councils: We facilitate regional Allotment Officers Forums, giving local authority Allotment Officers the opportunity to network and share good practice. On a national level we serve the allotment movement by lobbying the Government, to ensure the provision of allotments is met and statutory allotment sites are not sold off or developed without consultation.
Seed scheme and insurance: For those that join us we offer many Member Benefits including a discounted seed scheme through Kings Seeds, competitive and comprehensive cover through Chris Knott Insurance plus a wealth of online and printed growing advice. While our work is predominantly representing the allotment movement, we endeavour to provide advice and information to all gardeners.
Our origins date from 1901, as a members’ co-operative, and even today we operate as an Industrial and Provident Society, whereby we are owned, managed and funded by our members. Individual and Life members each receive one 10p share and have the right to vote at our AGM; while Associations, Local Authorities, District Bodies and Federations receive one 10p share per group and can have one vote per group at our AGM.
We are a small but dynamic organisation, comprising of six paid staff members based at our head office in Corby, plus a Management Committee and three Local Authority Reps, a President and Treasurer – all of whom are volunteers. We have recently adopted the working name of ‘The National Allotment Society’, to help people better understand who we are and what we do, but when it comes to official business we are still the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners Limited (our registered name).
In 2011, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales kindly agreed to become the Patron of the Society. As an avid gardener himself and advocate of green issues, we look forward to working more closely with him in the future.
The Society is a founder member of the International Office which represents over 3.5 million allotment gardeners in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
We also own 4 allotments sites, you can read about them by clicking here