Eyemouth Enhancement Group
In 2023, Eyemouth Enhancement Group are evolving into a group that offers training for people, supporting health and wellbeing as well as ensuring continued improvements to the local area aesthetics.
As well as all the previous work continuing, they have the privilege of working with the Eyemouth Harbour Trust on continued improvement of the harbour front. Saltgreens Care Home is also having more work, than in previous years, carried out by group members, with an orchard and replanted flower beds.
The main part of 2023 will be spent moving from annual bedding to perennial planting in over 80% of the group’s planters and beds.
In 2023, Eyemouth Enhancement Group were recognised with two Beautiful Scotland discretionary awards:
1. Jim Murdie Award for Sustainability: The group has made huge strides forward with sustainability, examples include ceasing the use of annual bedding in their planters and beds this year, which has received the backing of the community through the group’s social networking; free mulch supplied by a local member of the community has been used on all the beds and borders, helping retain moisture and lessening the dependence on watering, and which, over time, will add to the soil structure; and, the viability of saved vegetable seed is being trialled by a local project, Abundant Borders, which runs a no-dig regime and is fully organic.
2. Young People Award: the group focuses a lot on employability work and community learning with young people. For example, they are happy to support the Beavers at any opportunity, from litter picks to making their own seed bombs, to bringing back the community’s plant sale. Working with the local council, the group is supporting two young people to gain a wide range of horticultural skills. The group say both are a great asset and addition to the community they live in.
The group’s work with young people is ensuring that relationships between the age groups are well maintained. From the primary ones, to the seventy-five-year-olds, this work is helping to invigorate the local community and encourage others to do the same.
In 2022, Eyemouth Enhancement Group scooped two Beautiful Scotland discretionary awards:
1. RHS Scotland Award for Overcoming Adversity - Storm Arwen caused extensive damage to Eyemouth. Many buildings were badly affected, and the group’s growing facilities were still out of action at the time of the judges visit. Despite this, the community came together to donate many of the plants for the displays this year. The damage to the natural environment was huge, and the judges were shown evidence still remaining of the vast clear-up operation that was undertaken by the group and the local authority. The group has done a phenomenal job organising working parties to co-ordinate clearance of brush and uprooted trees. This has clearly taken a huge amount of time away from their traditional activities. Despite this, they can be justly proud of the way the town was presented to us, with little overall impact of the adversity they had overcome.
2. Keep Scotland Beautiful Award - The Beautiful Scotland judges commented that it was most pleasing to see the vast difference and turn around in outlook of the group, and the community this year, and this has been reflected in Eyemouth moving up a medal. There is now a strong working partnership with the council, and our judges were able to meet representatives from the workforce as well as administration, which they commented was a very genuine and positive experience. It should not be under-rated that improving relationships takes a huge amount of effort and compromise. The results are obvious for both the community and the council in this winning area. One good example of a ‘win-win’, amongst many, was the collaboration on grass mowing. A particular area is now mowed by the group, and, because of this, the council now has the extra capacity to maintain another area, including strimming instead of using herbicide. Eyemouth Enhancement Group and the council are to be congratulated on this much stronger partnership, that has clearly been achieved by persistence and great effort from both parties.
In 2021, Eyemouth Enhancement Group won the Young People Award: It’s unusual today for a secondary school to have horticulture in the curriculum, taught by a specialist teacher. The High School in Eyemouth has a well-equipped area, with a large polytunnel and glasshouse, and horticulture is taught as a practical course. Students are also allocated an area of the nearby allotments to work on in groups, and, when the school was closed during lockdown, the teacher kept the courses going virtually. Eyemouth Enhahncement Group works closely with the school, with many of their plants for the town raised in the school facilities. Also in the town, youth groups are involved in bulb and container planting.