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Glasgow City Council

Greyfriars Biophillic Community Garden

Greyfriars Garden

An example of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 in Action

A stunning new community garden has opened on Glasgow's High Street to replace a temporary growing space.

The beautiful council-owned site is near the Victorian neo-Gothic style Barony Hall in High St. The new Greyfriars Biophilic Garden has 11 more growing spaces than the old one and all 56 spaces have been snapped up by growers ranging in age from mid 20s to over 80 years.

The council has leased the new site to Greyfriars Biophilic Garden and it will be managed by the committee.

This step allows the group to determine their rental charges for their plotholders with income generated being ploughed back into the site. It also supports the groups desire to develop their own fundraising strategy and take responsibility for the site in the longer term, empowering the community to have a positive impact on their community beyond the perimeters of the garden.

Irene Graham, Secretary, said: "This is an amazing site. It is truly a gift to us. Everyone loves it here and it is a sheer joy to walk into. It makes you feel good and it is as much about growing community, as it is a growing community

Veronica Low, Chairperson, added: "We're thrilled with our new food growing site! We needed a more permanent space, and that's what we have now, so we can plan ahead, fundraise and organise new activity.

"It is heart-warming to see so many new gardeners joining us and bringing their amazing skills. Thanks to support from Glasgow City Council, our green oasis in the city centre now has a bright future."

The group worked in partnership with the council's Greenspace and Biodiversity team to create 56 raised beds including three accessible beds which a chair or wheelchair can fit beneath. It also has a covered communal seating area and storage units. Reusable items from the old site, like barrels, have been reused as planters.

Councillor Angus Millar, Glasgow Convener for Climate, said: "I'm delighted that the council has been able to provide this attractive alternative location for the food growing project.

This lovely setting, enclosed by a sandstone wall, will be a fantastic asset for the established Greyfriars Garden community and is a great example of the kind of spaces we want to create via the council's Food Growing Strategy.

Seamus Connolly, NRS Group Manager for Greenspace, Biodiversity and Bereavement Services said:

"As we move forward with our discussions in relation to schedule of delegation with our growing communities across the city, the "Greyfriars Model" is an excellent example of how we can support empowerment for our communities.

Our door is open to any growing groups in the City seeking similar arrangements and officers in our Food Growing Team are keen to have conversations with groups and to support developing lease agreements on similar terms facilitating a true a sense of ownership and empowerment on land the groups currently manage informally. "

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