Whitecrook Community Garden Grows into Success

Whitecrook GardenIn 2010, local volunteer Carolanne Stewart just wanted a bit of ground to work with kids and do a bit of planting. By 2013, her bit of ground has turned into a hugely successful community garden which not only produces veggies and herbs to be used by the local community but also provides teaching and training opportunities for local young people.

The community garden project started when Clydebank Housing Association gave Carolanne a bit of grassy ground next to Whitecrook’s Centre 81 to work on. The site was cleared and prepared and thanks to donations from local organisations and volunteers, the garden soon grew. Raised beds were donated by West Dunbartonshire Council, while Clydebank Housing Association donated a polytunnel. Local residents were happy to provide recycled materials and still continue to supply the garden with food waste for composting and other materials that Carolanne always finds a use for.

Carolanne has always wanted the garden to be a place for children to learn and soon local nurseries and primary schools began to visit and take part in hands-on activities. A number of workshops were organised and the children were able to plant their own veggies and flowers which they took back to their schools to continue growing.

The garden is open on weekends and local residents are welcome to come and help or even just to look around and be inspired. A wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables is grown including peas, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes, corn, cabbages, cucumbers, beetroot, courgettes and carrots, not to mention herbs and flowers. Anything grown in the garden is either used at gala days or donated to local groups that come to the Centre 81 for classes.

Whitecrook Community GardenCarolanne has always wanted to keep chickens and in October 2011, the garden got some new residents. Local organisations sponsored chickens for the garden and there are now 12 chickens that live in a coup bought thanks to funding from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All programme. All her chickens have a name (and Carolanne remembers them all!) and local children and grown-ups alike come to the garden to have a look at them and learn a bit about how chickens live and lay eggs. Carolanne collects a few eggs a day and these are donated to local groups and residents.

This very successful garden has already won a number of awards – Keep Scotland Beautiful and RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood awards and Carolanne is sure the garden will continue to be an inspiration for other communities. CLS have also recently helped Clydebank HA secure funding to employ Carolann as a part-time Community Garden Co-ordinator as part of a broader package of funding for Centre 81′s initiatives that includes £206,380 in direct funding, a further £79,850 in cash or in kind support negotiated with partner organisations (West Dunbartonshire Council, Clydebank College, Action for Children and Whitecrook Centre 81 Lunch Club) and a match funding contribution from Clydebank Housing Association of £61,933.

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