There are three shortlisted entrants in this category. Please read them all before deciding on your favourite.
Incredible Edible Bute
This entry is the result an initiative led by Fyne Futures. Fyne Futures are a registered charity and company limited by guarantee based on the isle of Bute who deliver on environmental, educational and socio-economical objectives. We aim to help support those who face barriers to work by building their skills in a workplace environment. We offer funded placements, and deliver recycling services to the island. We also run a furniture re-use shop on Bute and a local community garden and horticultural training centre.
This year, through funding granted by Climate Challenge Fund, Fyne Futures are delivering an ambitious ‘carbon free’ food project’. Their project is aimed at transforming community land spaces that are going to waste into growing spaces. Further, these spaces are intended to be accessible to all, and are aimed at offering free food to anyone. The purpose of this is to reduce food poverty on the island, to encourage local growing, to improve accessibility to growing spaces for all and to reduce the carbon impact of bringing food to our island.
As a major part of this project we have transformed a long derelict space of waste ground (once the site of a church) into a large accessible raised bed garden. The garden has been created by a combination of community members and members of our staff. The community have come together to form ‘Incredible Edible Bute’- a group of growers who tend the beds voluntarily. We grow a variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs in the beds we tend on a fortnightly basis. Indeed, one of our volunteers has gained recognition of ‘Regional Hero of Cowal and Bute’ at TSI Volunteer of the Year 2018 awards for his contribution to the project.
The ambitious group intends to grow into a second year, raising awareness of local growing and supporting local economy. We aim to do this by expanding into further disused beds, having so far converted 8 flower beds that were due for demolition in addition to creating the purpose-built garden.
Transforming waste and derelict ground in this way, giving it a productive, practical purpose that helps alleviate the issues of food poverty faced by rural communities is an excellent example of improving Scottish rural land use and improving community environment.
Below are some images of the transformed ground and the positive community action that has taken place. More can be found on the Incredible Edible Bute Facebook page. We welcome and encourage visitors.
Lanark Community Development Trust – Castlebank Park
Lanark Community Development Trust is a charitable, non-profit body which carries out projects for the common good in the rural market town of Lanark. Based on the results of the ‘Lanark Town Centre Study’ public consultation, one of the most prominent development projects was the desire to “make the most of the town’s hidden gems” by enhancing local green spaces.
Castlebank Park is located in the South West of Lanark and is a former hunting ground for the Lanark Castle, which was then developed into a residential area and formal gardens under private ownership until the early 1950s when the land was obtained by Lanark Town Council. From the 60s onwards, park area and gardens slowly fell into disrepair and community use declined as areas became sealed off, gardens became overgrown, play equipment became unsafe and the public toilets were closed.
From 2012 onwards, Lanark Community Development Trust has worked in partnership with various local partners including Lanark in Bloom, South Lanarkshire Council and Clydesdale Community Initiatives to restore Castlebank to its former glory. This work could not have been done without the dedicated team of Castlebank Park volunteers, who work in partnership with Lanark in Bloom, and the ‘Friends of Castlebank Park’ membership who provide essential financial support to the project.
Volunteers have worked to completely transform areas of the park including ‘The Bog Garden’, ‘The Fairy Dell’, ‘The Wallace Rose Garden’, as well as additional funding being received from Paths for All to improve signage in the park and signposting for the Clyde Walkway route. Castlebank Park is also now recognised as one of Scotland’s 71 Green Flag Parks.
One of the key areas of restoration is Castlebank Horticultural Centre which occupies formerly derelict land including tennis courts and sawmill buildings. Phase 1 of the project, the growing area opened in 2014 and Phase 2 work is still ongoing with the new Community Hub facility is due to open in September 2018 with facilities including a Classroom, Bistro, Office and Kitchen. Dependent on funding, the Development Trust aim to employ a full-time Educational Gardener to work at the centre providing a range of educational courses and community activities themed around the environment and horticulture.
In recent months, Castlebank Park has been injected with activity through hosting a range of well-attended community and national events, such as the inaugural ‘FlowerFestival’ coordinated by the Development Trust, and most recently the park played host to Greenspace Scotland’s Park Manager Forum welcoming park managers from across the country.
The Mountains and the People
The Mountains and The People is unique landscape scale project which has two overarching aims. The first is to restore and upgrade 125km of existing upland paths across Scotland’s two national parks through a series of path restoration projects. The second is an on-going community engagement programme designed to encourage the public to help manage and maintain paths in the future.
The five-year scheme seeks to reduce the impact of human activity on the mountains whilst encouraging the public to have a pro-active, engaged relationship in mountain maintenance, and to be hands-on in enhancing and protecting the wild and special qualities of the areas.
Repairing the mountains
Areas that have been affected by path ‘braiding’ – the broadening of paths up and down mountains, are typical of routes that are easily accessible. In popular areas within the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, such as those taking walkers up Ben A’an and Ben Lomond, paths have become as wide as 40 meters as a result of large numbers of walkers each year using just a little bit more of the path each trip.
The negative impact of path braiding on the park ecology and mountain drainage systems can be substantial. Both National Parks are home to stunning wildlife, flora and fauna, much of which is protected, that are vulnerable to damage as a result of human activity.
The Mountains and the People ‘Upland Path Programme’ hopes that by re-laying paths, replanting turf, and diverting mountain users away from man-made ‘short-cuts’, natural habitats and highland vegetation will be restored. Since the beginning of the project in 2015, 24 of the planned paths have been completed.
The project also aims to encourage enthusiasts to become directly involved in the long-term conversation of the Park’s mountain paths. Through various educational, training, and awareness initiatives, the project aims to activate the sense of community and personal responsibility in those who use the mountains, which will help protect vulnerable Park areas in the future.
There have been five 6-month vocational training courses in which 36 young people have become accredited in path building. Many of these trainees have gone on to work for path building contractors. The project conversation volunteer programme has worked with over 200 people to help conserve mountain paths in their spare time. The Adopt a Path Programme has recruited volunteers to monitor path conditions to avoid problems going undetected.