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New homes help People’s Garden bloom

13 May 2014
All of the volunteers pose for a group picture in the community garden.

People power has helped transform waste ground into a thriving community garden.

Environmental charity Urban Roots designed the ‘planting paradise’ in Priesthill, Glasgow, which formally opened this month. 

Sanctuary Scotland asked GRAHAM Construction to help create the garden, a community benefit, while the firm built 80 affordable Sanctuary homes in Priesthill.

The garden, behind the United Reformed Church in Peat Road, was built by Urban Roots staff, local volunteers and GRAHAM Construction apprentices. Both the congregation and the community groups who use the church hall helped shape the garden throughout its creation. 

Lucy Cunningham, of Urban Roots, said: “After two years of persuading, convincing, planning, designing, grafting, building and organising, we now have a beautiful, kid-friendly, wheelchair-accessible space which residents can enjoy.

“The garden has been a real group project and, like the others, I’m thrilled with the result. The transformation is amazing and justifies everyone’s hard work. 

“We encourage people to come along, enjoy the garden and grow their own fruit, veg and flowers. It’s a great space to work, think or relax.”

Urban Roots has run workshops on healthy cooking and gardening for residents, with more sessions planned in the near future. The charity attends the People’s Garden on Mondays and Fridays from 10am – 5pm, with a Kids Club every Monday from 3.30pm – 5pm.

Reverend Carolyn Smyth, of Priesthill United Reformed Church, said: “The garden is the fruits of a lot of labour and it would be wrong to single anyone out. 

“Sanctuary made the garden possible because, until they got involved, we had been unable to secure funding for the work. Once this was in place, Lucy, community volunteers and the GRAHAM apprentices drove the project forward.

“It has taken a little while but patience is a necessary virtue for gardeners. Thank you to everyone who has played a part in helping to get us here.” 

The former waste ground is now an attractive space featuring raised planting beds, benches and footpaths. An 18 metre-long mosaic designed and built by residents, and funded by Sanctuary, runs the length of the planting beds.

Artist Jaine Marriott, who led the mosaic project, said: “I have the technical expertise but the mosaic has truly been a collaborative effort. 

“So many people did their bit, from design suggestions to physically placing the tiles. The ‘Sun’ and ‘sky’ reflect the garden’s outdoor nature and the ‘rainbow people’ reflect its inclusivity. 

“The mosaic brings even more colour to what has become a beautiful public space.” 

The 80 Sanctuary homes which sparked the garden project complete the social housing provider’s regeneration of Priesthill.  

Roddy Macdonald, Sanctuary Scotland’s head of development, said: “This is yet another example of a Sanctuary development offering a community benefit over and above high quality, affordable housing.”