Woodlands Community Garden, Glasgow
We have chosen our overall winner for Cultivation Street 2016, Woodlands Community Garden! The community has won £10,000 of National Garden Gift Vouchers.
In 2010, Woodlands Community Development Trust took a derelict urban gap site that had laid like this for over 30 years and transformed it into a thriving community garden.
The Trust, who is concerned with the long term regeneration of the Woodlands area of Glasgow now use the garden to support the local community in a range of incredible ways.
This is a project built by the community, for the community. The team now supports educational activities and promotes the health and well-being of the people visiting. They aim to encourage participation in community arts and the advancement and importance of environmental protection.
The garden is a wonderfully therapeutic space that helps people to recover from the stresses and strains of everyday life.
The garden has over 50 raised beds where local people can grow their own food, with beds allocated on an annual basis. For people who don’t have a raised bed, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved.
Woodlands Community Garden has a café that serves healthy and nutritious vegetarian meals for free. The food is made with ingredients from the garden, and is especially helpful for those in the community with disabilities or those who are struggling financially.
People who are the beneficiaries are actively involved in the food’s preparation, cooking and serving. They say that the strength of the community café is that there is no distinction between those providing the aid and those receiving it.
The café is very welcoming, to all. It has music workshops and performances that add to the great atmosphere. Visitors say it’s very much a positive place to come, and helps to encourage a healthy lifestyle. It also enables communities from all backgrounds to socialise in a safe and welcoming environment.
Tim said: “Our garden also provides the ingredients for our community cafe which over the last two years has trained and supported more than 60 volunteers and served up more than 5000 healthy meals. If you have a dead community space, turn it into a place for the community to enjoy. It’s very rewarding.”
Picture © Andy Buchanan 2016
Woodlands Community Garden will soon be celebrating their achievements by hosting special art events at the garden for Doors Open Day as well as a Wild Words festival featuring writers, poets and performers and a community Harvest banquet.
Woodlands has recently launched a free music workshop as part of the Appetite for Music programme and are in discussions with a local Housing Association about also providing food at a weekly homework club.
In the next year or so, Woodlands will be building a new creative hub and studio called Woodlands Workspace. This development will enable the community to help local artists have access to affordable and high quality studio space.
Picture © Andy Buchanan 2016
We headed to Glasgow to do the big reveal and announce they have won £10,000 worth of National Gardening Vouchers.
Irina, Development Food Worker in the café was very excited with the reveal, saying: “It was an amazing surprise to find out we are the UK winners. A real honour for us at Woodlands. The prize is certainly going to an amazing cause and will make such positive impact to our garden and community.”
Tim added: “We will use the money to buy plants, bird feeders and containers for our Greening West Princes Street initiative – this will see us extend the community garden further out into our community and help us develop a green corridor linking the community garden to Kelvingrove Park. We’ll also carry out some repairs to some of the older raised beds and walk-ways at the garden.”
Tim cheers more local people to get together through gardening saying: “Even if you’ve never tried gardening before, community gardens offer a great way to meet people – and you simply can’t beat both the taste and satisfaction of eating something you have grown from seed.” And encourages communities to “Give it a go – there’s lot of gardens out there, of all shapes and sizes – and they are a really great way of getting involved in your local community.”
The judges were impressed by how the communities have made such a marvellous transformation to the site and have made such clever use of the space. They hailed the garden as a shining example of how horticulture can lead to greater inclusion. The garden provides so much including healthy nutritious food and has changed the lives of the local people.