Harlow Council remain positive that Carly Burd’s dream allotment could become a reality

News / Fri 26th Jan 2024 at 02:18pm

HARLOW Council remains positive that community champion Carly Burd will fulfil her dream of setting up a community allotment in Harlow.

It was back in the summer of 2022, when Little Parndon resident Carly identified the derelict allotment in Fold Croft and began to work with Harlow Council to develop it.

What happened after that has been extensively documented locally, nationally and internationally (see our article below).

One of the hurdles was the establishment of a community interest company (CIC) but since we last wrote a piece, that has now been set up in the form of A Meal From Me Wth Love CIC.

But now that has been established we thought we would ask both parties where we are.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Councillor Nicky Purse, Harlow Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and Environment, said:

“The council is fully committed to helping Carly achieve her ambitions as she continues to work to provide food for those most in need in Harlow.

“Carly has rightly received a large amount of local, regional and national support following the incident that wrongly attempted to set her work back. The donations received at the time showed how much people value what Carly does for the community.

“I approached Carly 16 months ago to take a lead on a community allotment regeneration project, which is all part of our priority to restore pride in Harlow.

“This would also mean Carly could have her much-needed garden back. I understand the frustration about the time it is taking to agree the lease for the land at the allotment site. Carly has only recently established a community interest company and completed many administrative requirements to get to where she is today.

“Nobody wants the lease agreement to be an insurmountable task – the council is proactively working to finalise it. The ambition is to formalise an agreement on the lease in the near future.

“It is important that Carly and other community organisers are able to get on with the work they do, and no administrative hurdle should get in the way of their positive community impact.”     

We did send a number of questions to the award-winning Carly.

We just wanted to establish whether she saw this as good news and what were her hopes and/or timeline for 2024?

We were all aware that, day in and day out, since 2022, Carly has put together over 3,000 meals for Harlow residents.

That sounds like an expensive business and so we did ask how much of the £250,000 (donated by people all over the world) in the GoFundMe page had been spent? This might be the right time to reactivate it. We are sure there is a lot of goodwill out there.

We have yet to receive a reply. That may be because she is out delivering food to the people of Harlow! If/when we do, we will update the story.

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15 Comments for Harlow Council remain positive that Carly Burd’s dream allotment could become a reality:

2024-01-26 17:43:03

It really doesn’t take that long to set up a CIC. From the outside, it looks like Carly has been dragging her feet and she gets very snarky on social media at perfectly polite and reasonable questions, which is not reassuring. You’re right to ask questions about where the money is and how it’s been / being spent. People have a right to ask, they donated in good faith.

2024-01-26 22:39:10

Ever heard of the saying. If you’ve got nothing nice to say, keep your mouth shut. - Carly is trying her best to give back to the community of Harlow and help people who are struggling to make ends meet. You’re quite happy to sit behind your keyboard and slag her off but not in person and to her face. You are a pathetic human being and just hope it doesn’t bite you in the ass one day!

2024-01-26 22:39:44

Ever heard of the saying. If you’ve got nothing nice to say, keep your mouth shut. - Carly is trying her best to give back to the community of Harlow and help people who are struggling to make ends meet. You’re quite happy to sit behind your keyboard and slag her off but not in person and to her face. You are a pathetic human being and just hope it doesn’t bite you in the ass one day!

2024-01-27 01:27:50

Oh dear, here we go again. Ms Burd’s supporters (Si felt the comment was so valid that he/she had to write it twice) yet again resorting to name calling. It is perfectly reasonable for the public to ask where the funds donated by the public are currently sitting and how much of that public money has been spent.

2024-01-27 03:16:27

Name calling, ha just listen to yourself. Yes and I do support her actually. She has already explained what’s going on and I for one believe her. All she is doing is trying to help our community, what’s so wrong in that? All you bang on about is where the money is being spent, why don’t you worry about the billions of pounds of tax payers money being wasted by our government, do you bother them about…I highly doubt it! Carly is trying her best, she has put out a statement and explained what’s going on via video, she hasn’t kept quiet and I for one believe her and I believe in what she is doing for our community in Harlow. Worry about real world issues first and STOP picking on Carly or do you not have something better to be getting on with - obviously not!

2024-01-27 12:36:26

Si, you are entitled to believe Ms Burd if you so choose. Just as those who have concerns are entitled to voice those concerns and this local digital newspaper is entitled to publish articles on the subject. I will not dignify your comments regarding my views or actions regarding the current economic state of our country with a response, as that is irrelevant to this. Yes, Ms Burd has posted a statement and made comments on social media, in which everyone else seems to be blamed for the lack of progress. She couldn’t set up as a CIC as she didn’t have a driving license (although that apparently didn’t stop her from setting up as a Ltd company and she did not need photographic ID to set up as a CIC, she only needed this to open a business bank account). She did not set up as a registered Charity despite the fact that, pre the windfall of the generously donated public funds, she was apparently nearing the end of that process (a CIC and a registered Charity are entirely different). She has been asked numerous times where the funds are currently held (are they in a business bank account/personal bank account) and whether any of the public funds have been spent. She constantly evades answering those questions. She took 7/8 months to register as a CIC, yet then complains that it is the Council who are delaying the allotments, despite the fact that it has been only a few weeks since the CIC was established. She encourages her supporters to harass the local council and MP’s because the Council do not jump to her commands (the delays were caused by Ms Burd). I am sure Ms Burd had good intentions, but the organisation is shambolic (clients having no idea whether their desperate pleas for food have been read, whether they will receive a food parcel and, if so, when etc etc etc. There are so many concerns and red flags. I sincerely hope that the Council follow the necessary procedures to ensure a safe and well organised scheme is established and that they do not bow to the ill conceived pressures that Ms Burd’s supporters are no doubt placing them under.

Salty Sea Dog
2024-01-27 13:50:39

This is yet another one of those crowdfunds gone viral, donations made without any due diligence, and little, if any follow up (Your Harlow excepted, of course!). I wonder if it would have got the level of donations that it did if those contributing knew that Carly had no formal agreement to use the allotment land and that she would ultimately be locked out of it? As for the £250k raised, GoFundMe would have taken a chunk, but Carly has been highly evasive on social media when asked where it is, how much is left, and what she plans to do with it now that there's no allotment. She appears to have been spending large sums of money for Tesco deliveries which she packages up and sends on to others. The process for actually getting a food package is unclear, doesn't appear to be reliable, and I've seen accusations that she's been handing them out to friends. All of this could be dealt with by getting a few community-minded people to help with the running and governance of the CIC. That way, there would be accountability for the money and oversight of how it is spent and invested. It would also help service users to be treated fairly and better communicate with them - one of the biggest issues is people having to post publicly on Facebook to ask when/if they are getting a food package. Unfortunately, none of this will likely happen as Carly seems hell-bent on trying to do everything by herself, even though she's not capable.

2024-01-27 18:59:52

Talk to some other allotment holders for the "truth"

Sam H
2024-01-27 20:22:36

Si mate, she isn't gonna bang you.

Cloud Strife
2024-01-27 20:29:56

Anyone who has followed this saga in detail would see that Carly is in no way qualified to deal with something like this, as good as her intentions may have been. She is living with various disabilities that affect her ability to provide this service - that people depend on - in a timely manner. The fact she is trying to run this endeavour is admirable, but when people are depending on your service to be able to eat a decent meal there really needs to be a back up plan for when Carly has flare-ups or hospital appointments. As it is, people are posting on her page stating that they have been waiting since December for a parcel and in some cases haven't even been acknowledged. Additionally there are multiple instances of Carly and her friends judging the people who have come to her for help, leaving abusive voicemails, and generally acting unprofessionally and with complete disregard for the dignity and privacy of her service users. Being in a position where you have to use a service like this is demoralising enough without having people you don't know stating that you shouldn't be entitled to free food because you have previously spent money on or have been gifted concert tickets, or own luxury goods, or anything that does not fit the stereotype that this venture seems to think it is catering for. Good idea, appallingly executed. Please, Your Harlow, look into this further.

2024-01-28 09:18:03

By reading all the posts, it makes me think as this got far too big for her to handle. She had a great idea to help the community, but has this caused her too much stress, and this is struggling to deal with it.

Sophie S
2024-01-28 22:32:40

Unfortunately I agree with the other comments regarding Carly and her organisational skills. There are groups in Harlow who run community allotments very well and I’m sure she could’ve worked with them and learnt from their skills and experience. But she seems to be determined to go it alone (apart from a few people who help with deliveries, her children and her latest partner). She has had offers of help from those who have set up similar schemes, but has taken those constructive suggestions as criticisms of her and blocked those people from her page and group. She definitely has a victim mentality. It is shocking to see the total chaos that is her management of food parcel requests. She may well have good intentions, I don’t doubt that, but she needs to realise that she needs help from those with relevant experience and not just depend on the blind faith her followers have in her.

Sophie s
2024-02-03 01:31:19

The latest escapade is that she is planning to use the funds that people donated to help establish and run the allotment for an entirely different purpose! She has decided that she wants to use them to support horticulture education in schools. That is NOT what people donated to and is NOT providing meals to people in need! This is absolutely ridiculous!

2024-02-03 15:14:45

Yourharlow would you please investigate this latest development further. At no point in the GoFundMe appeal did Ms Burd state that the funds would be used to support horticultural education in schools. Her very public videos and updates specified that the funding was required to enable her to establish and expand on the services offered on an allotment and to continue to feed those in financial difficulties. Those who donated to this fundraising scheme were donating to those particular initiatives and the funds should therefore be restricted to those particular areas. In her video update of 26th January 2024 she assured us that she would consult with the Community (although she did not specify how that consultation would be conducted or who the ‘community’ is - one would expect Ms Burd to consult with those who donated to the fundraising initiative) before making any decisions regarding alternative uses of the funds, should the allotment project not be viable. Yet, on 2nd February 2024, she posted a statement (she has since deleted it, but there are screenshots available) in which she stated that she would be “utilizing the public donations to support horticulture education in schools”. This is not what the public donated funds to and it is highly questionable whether those individuals would have donated to such a scheme. Incidentally, her C.I.C. registration states that fundraising is “to invest and reinvest in the allotments, for the purposes of growing vegetables and other produce for distribution to the community”. Ms Burd cannot arbitrarily decide that she will use the donated funds for an entirely different purpose than that for which they were donated. She confirmed in her C.I.C. application that she would abide by the Fundraising Regulator’s Fundraising Code of Practice. I completely agree with Sophie (above), this latest development is completely unacceptable. Incidentally, she has not updated the GoFundMe appeal since July last year, despite the fact that it is those individuals who donated over quarter of a million pounds to the allotment scheme.

Tracey J
2024-02-08 21:44:22

I have been following Carly’s story for some time and have kept my views to myself until now, but I can keep silent no longer. I have known Carly personally for many years and, initially, I fell for the persona that she likes to portray - a caring, compassionate person who has personal health struggles to deal with. However, over time the real Carly shows itself - an attention seeking narcissist. It is not a surprise to those who really know her that most of her family want nothing to do with her (she will blame them, as nothing could ever possibly be her fault - she is unable to accept any blame for anything). I have so many stories I could tell about instances of her spitefulness and attention seeking! Even the reasons she gave for starting this enterprise are a fabrication. In all the time that I have known her she has never been a single parent struggling on benefits and going without heating. She has had one man after another living with her as husband and wife (with only a few weeks gap in between partners moving in/out) and supporting her financially (in addition to the state benefits she receives). Contrary to her public statements, rather than ‘going without heating’ and her children going without Christmas presents, she and her partner were buying her sons motorbikes, amongst many other gifts. She also spends a small fortune on marijuana every day. Not the actions of someone struggling to afford food and heating! The people who actually know Carly well personally soon see the truth about who she is as a person, rather than the image she portrays. Be warned, she is an attention seeking, manipulative narcissist