THE FOUNDER of a scheme which grows free fruit and vegetables for people in Guiseley has been awarded thousands of pounds to set up a seasonal and local eating project.

Rebecca Mears is being given a grant of up to £10,000 to help develop her Grow-Cook-Eat social enterprise, encouraging people to grow their own food and cook with their own, or locally grown, produce.

The funding, from the Lloyds Banking Group, also comes with a year-long learning programme and a business mentor.

The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme is run in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Rebecca, 47, from Guiseley, led a group of volunteers to set up Incredible Edible Aireborough in 2015 to provide free fruit, vegetables and herbs for the local community.

She is keen to share her love of growing and cooking local, seasonal, sustainable food with more people by setting up a social enterprise.

She said: " I am currently looking for local businesses and voluntary organisations who may be interested in having a little space for growing food to improve staff wellbeing and morale."

Rebecca already runs her own catering business, the Travelling Tea Ladies, which specialises in afternoon tea parties with goodies baked with local, seasonal ingredients.

She said: "As part of the development of my Grow-Cook-Eat business I teach cooking at a mental health charity in Knaresborough, Orb Community Arts. I currently run an allotment group too for a learning disability charity, Harrogate Skills for Living.

"Oh and in my 'spare' time I coordinate Incredible Edible Aireborough: a small group of volunteers growing fruit, herbs and veg around Guiseley for the local community to help themselves to for free."

When Incredible Edible was launched in Aireborough Becky said: "We want to encourage people to think about where their food comes from and be inspired to eat seasonal veggies, buy local food or grow their own.

"We want to see community land used for growing community food. We believe anyone can get involved and learn more about growing food from the very young to the old."