Community growing spaces are an important resource for communities living at high density, with little or no access to sizable private gardens. They can make a value contribution to social inclusion, physical and mental health, and diet, leading to an improved quality of life. This is particularly true in Glasgow where the majority of the urban population live in tenements and flats, and do not have access to a garden of their own.
Glasgow is at the forefront of Scottish local authorities in terms of allotment provision. However, demand for community growing spaces has risen dramatically in recent years as interest in food growing has increased. Levels of media interest and endorsement for allotments have been unprecedented and, as a result, Glasgow's allotment sites are fully occupied and waiting lists are at their longest for over 60 years.
In 2009, Glasgow City Council published its Allotments Strategy 2009-2013. This document committed the Council to:
Glasgow City Council established a working partnership with Glasgow Housing Association, Glasgow Community Planning Partnership and Glasgow Allotment Forum. Together they identified seven vacant or underused sites where new community growing plots could be created:
Plans were developed for each of the seven sites and extensive community consultations were held to gauge public support for the project. While there was broad support for extended allotment provision on six of the seven sites, there was some local opposition to the development of the Temple Growing Spaces. With this in mind, Glasgow City Council withdrew the initial proposal and developed the site as a landscaped community greenspace in line with local aspirations.
This project has increased the number of growing opportunities in Glasgow by 165 plots over 6 new or improved sites. It facilitates active and healthy lifestyles and increases access to locally grown fruit and vegetables.
The Bellahouston Educational Garden has been developed as a hub for learning and development. Faith groups, schools and colleges, and organisations dealing issues with mental health and social exclusion have the opportunity to participate in gardening activity whilst learning about biodiversity, garden design, and the benefits of locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables. The Glasgow Allotments Forum also uses the site to deliver practical training programmes on horticulture, and waste minimisation through composting and recycling.
The Kingsway Garden Project has provided local residents with a new facility for recreation, learning and social interaction. It has become a focus for community events, and a sessional worker, appointed by the Coachhouse Trust, delivers a weekly programme of workshops on basic allotment skills, composting, biodiversity, and growing vegetables and herbs.
"The community garden is a relaxing place to be. I would come here all the time as it is so peaceful and relaxing and stops you thinking about the bad things."
"Really educational, I've learned quite a lot. It's been enjoyable, good company and good fun - the experts were very helpful. It's also helped me make up my mind what I'm having for dinner - I'm taking home some beetroot and chives from the garden to have in my salad."
"It gets you out of the house and I enjoy passing on the experience we have gained over the years. I'm glad to get out and enjoy the freedom for 2-3 hours."
GAMH Participants at Bellahouston Demonstration Garden
"After my head injury... the garden gave me purpose which I felt I had lost...
To me, the project is not only about growing crops. Apart from agriculture skills, it reminded me of what it is like to work in a team. It helps me in dealing with other people and trains me to cope with problems in my private life.
My balance skills are a little bit better than some other service users, and for that reason, I feel responsible to look after their safety. That duty gave me more confidence and prompted me to get even more involved. Recently, I have been accepted to volunteer as an assistant at The Marie Trust Garden Project.
Bellahouston Park and its allotments are a beautiful place to be. It is great to have the opportunity to enter it whenever I want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
I am happy I was given a chance to do things I truly enjoy doing. My dream is to run a small business in this field. I will see what future holds for me."
Momentum Skills Client at Bellahouston Demonstration Garden
A member of the Tollcross Park Allotment Association achieved first place in the Glasgow Allotment Forum Best New Plot-holder Competition 2013.
Second place in this competition was achieved by a Mansewood Allotment Association plot-holder.
This project promotes community growing initiatives and increases the available growing space across Central Scotland. It increases access to locally grown food and supports good dietary health. It also promotes active lifestyles by encouraging local people to participate in physical gardening activity.
This project creates shared greenspaces for the local communities to use and enjoy, facilitating social interaction and inclusion. It also provides training opportunities for local residents and community groups, instilling them with confidence and providing them with the work experience necessary to secure employment in today's ultra-competitive labour market.
The project partners continue to support the development of community growing spaces and in 2010 they launched Glasgow's Green Champions Sustainable Site Award across the 33 Allotment Associations and Growing Spaces in Glasgow. These awards will highlight the contribution that allotments make to the environment, the community and the wellbeing of the plot-holders.
|2010||CSGN Development Fund||90,000|