NHS Lothian has set aside up to 15 acres of land in the grounds of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital to create community gardens for use by local people, community groups and patients. The land was previously waste ground.
The result was this pilot project, which was officially launched in May 2010 with a demonstration area of three acres, including an existing orchard. The hospital's estates staff helped with site tidying. Green waste from the hospital site will be used for pathwork. In addition, the on-site horticultural therapy project propagated plants for use in their glasshouses, so that the community gardeners would have something to plant out in their first season. The project is being developed in a low-cost community-owned highly voluntary way, where the groups involved will manage the site on a day-to-day basis and be responsible for fundraising.
What activities take place?
A project manager has been employed, on a sessional basis, to work with community groups and volunteers to develop the site. He quickly assembled a large team of people who wanted to get stuck in and help with practical tasks. The project manager's job is not only development of the site, but also empowering users to take responsibility for the site too. The community gardens are recognised as being particularly special as they bring together both members of the local community and patients to grow food and other plants alongside each other.
Aim - Developing work skills using gardening activities.
The Royal Edinburgh Community Gardens aim to make good food and healthy lifestyles available to the local communities in which NHS Lothian hospitals are based. The gardens have a particular focus on welcoming people who are experiencing mental or physical health problems, disadvantage, isolation or poverty.
This project aims to use up to 15 acres of land to grow good food, companionship, health and well-being. Key elements are the promotion of mental and physical health, and building inclusive communities.
The project give scope for patient and NHS staff involvement alongside community involvement, with emphasis on creating opportunities for people who might otherwise face barriers in being involved in such activities.
- Gardening: growing and eating local food while building community and developing skills.
- Walks, workshops, events, and a range of ‘hands on’ activities which encourage healthy eating and promote social inclusion.
- Advice and support for those trying to improve their lives or the lives of others through the provision of good food and good health.
The project, which has backing by the Scottish Government, is managed by the Cyrenians charity, with FCFCG involved on the steering group.
For further information, please get in touch.