- Volunteering with KSB and loving every minute
- We are all accountable for our actions
- Hillhead students talk keeping Kelvingrove Park beautiful
- Making it easy to choose a reusable cup for takeaway drinks
- Get to know...John MacLennan
- Get to know...Sandy Scott
- How Eco-Schools benefits pupils, teachers and communities
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
- Getting to know... Tom Brock OBE
- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Data drives decisions
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
- It's only one
- Why join the family of It’s Your Neighbourhood?
- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
- Litter picking - a surprisingly fun group activity
- Climate Action Skills and positive action for all
- Seeing community groups thrive with Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood
- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
- Scottish Book Trust representative joins Pocket Garden judging panel
- Have #YourSayOnLitter - we plan to...
- Everyone has something to say about litter – time to make it count
- Who ya gonna call?
- Why I pick up other people's garbage.
- Getting to Know...Colin
- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
- Caring for our planet
- Football’s Power to Combat Climate Change
- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
- What’s litter got to do with climate change?
- Scotland’s Climate Festival kicks off in Falkirk
- Responsible Tourism – an opportunity not to be missed
- Climate Change Vlog by Dalry Primary School
- Failing our future?
- Our Week of Climate Action
- #ScotClimateWeek - our impacts and actions
- Protecting the sand and sea
- Another fine mess – part one
- Designing a lower carbon Scotland
- Getting to know... Lisa Snedden
- Combating climate change with information, education and training
- Litter picking 500 miles was always Gonna Be easy
- 7K for 7 Flags Challenge
- Littering less at St Joseph's Primary School in Glasgow
- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Keeping our communities beautiful
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
Our Heritage Officer, Lisa, tells us about the work being done in Cumbernauld Village by a group of community gardeners that she volunteers with and how they got started.
The Village is the historic heart of the new town of Cumbernauld, with a history stretching back to the Romans and for a small village it is packed with greenspaces! The Village has a classic medieval layout, with a Church at the top of the Main Street and a coaching inn at the bottom with long gardens radiating from it. Several of the long gardens, known as Langriggs, survive and are now protected as a Field in Trust and as part of the Conservation Area. The Church itself, has an old Kirkyard and what we call the modern cemetery, which dates to the Victorian era. Over the years these spaces had become overgrown, neglected so much so that they were unwelcome and people didn’t like to visit them.
With the lockdowns during the Covid pandemic it became apparent how important greenspaces are to our health and well-being so a group of us got together, when restrictions allowed, to transform these overgrown spaces, starting with the Kirkyard and Cemetery! We discussed our plans with the local authority who were happy for us to go ahead. Over the next few months armed with hand tools and a lot of enthusiasm we cleared paths, tackled the triffids and opened up these spaces to be used by the community again.
Once we felt that we had got on top of the work at the Cemetery we decided to set ourselves a new challenge. Many members of the group grow their own fruit and veg so we wanted to help other local groups, and the wider community, do the same. We applied for funding in December 2020 and were successful. That funding enabled us to engage with the local care home where we were able to provide wheelchair-accessible raised beds and a variety of seeds to get them started. We also teamed up with the Family Learning Centre where the children got involved taking care of six raised beds and a lot of tattie bags! We were also able to upgrade the allotments that are located on the Langriggs. We purchased a polytunnel so we could be more sustainable by bringing on plants from seeds and grow a wider range of fruits and vegetables.
We worked alongside volunteers from Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Canal College employability programme, who built us two huge, raised beds in front of the allotments where we grow brassicas and salads for the people of the village to help themselves. These proved popular and we have now installed even more raised beds and half-barrel planters around the area and are growing tatties, pumpkins, leeks, strawberries, rhubarb and herbs!
Last year we decided to sign up for It’s Your Neighbourhood, a non-competitive environmental initiative managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society. We wanted to be a part of a wider network and learn more about what other projects are doing in our local area and across Scotland. Part of the initiative involves a visit from a Keep Scotland Beautiful volunteer assessor who scores your project based on community participation, environmental responsibility and gardening achievement. We were thrilled to achieve a Level 4 “Thriving” certificate, and are aiming for the top with a Level 5 “Outstanding” score this year. Our assessor gave us so many suggestions on how we could make our project even better and lots of really useful horticultural tips.
We keep an eye on national initiatives and have recently taken part in the Dandelion Project. We hosted a Harvest Festival with a focus on sustainability. We had a tool swap, gave away surplus plants and crops, had demonstrations on how to upcycle and recycle everyday objects into raised beds and planters. All of this alongside art activities, circus skills and live music!
It's hard work, but it’s rewarding work! It’s lovely when people passing by comment on the work we are doing and thank us for making the village that wee bit better and a more pleasant place to spend some time. Local businesses have contributed by donating plants or watering some of the planters, we are even getting requests to build them their own planters or making them hanging baskets. People on the Main Street have been putting out planters at their front doors filled with beautiful flowers. It’s not just the greenspaces in the village that get the benefit of the community gardener’s work, we, as volunteers, get benefits too. Getting out and gardening is fantastic for your physical and mental health, which, during the pandemic especially, was so important. We share laughs on our Whatsapp group and enjoy working together to keep our village beautiful.
So, what’s next? We had hoped to have a quieter time this year and just continue to maintain the areas we already work in but instead we managed to acquire some surplus land from the local authority to extend the allotments. We will be adding enough plots to offer everyone on our waiting list a space to grow! Maybe next year we will be able to slow down.
Some of my top tips for community gardening!
- Network – whether this is in person with nearby groups or on social media. There are so many inspirational groups out there.
- Keep an eye out on local forums for people getting rid of leftover building materials. We created paths out of slabs that were being thrown away. We also picked up a shed from someone in the Village who was getting a new one. Let people know the kind of things you are looking for – you’d be amazed what gets donated.
- Upcycle and recycle! Many of our plant pots are milk jugs, yoghurt and ice cream containers, just remember to poke holes in the bottom or low down on the side for drainage. We even bring on seeds in meringue trays.
- Contact your local supermarket, most of them have community engagement members of staff who might be able to organise donations of plants or other materials.
- If you are cutting back areas and producing a lot of woody clippings, consider making a log pile or a dead hedge. These are great habitats and a fantastic food source for insects. As the clippings rot they feed the soil too! Here’s a handy how to guide from the RSPB.
- Join It’s Your Neighbourhood! We were hesitant at first, we thought everything needed to be perfect with all the planters looking pristine but that is not the case at all. We found that our assessor was really positive and encouraging about the work we are doing, and was able to give us really practical advice and helpful suggestions for the future.
- And most importantly…remember to take time to enjoy the garden or other areas that you are working on! Grab a cuppa, take a seat and admire all of your great work!