The Neighbourhood Garden is a place for folk to come together to grow food, build a sense of community, and improve their health and well-being. The project is led by Murrayburn & Hailesland Community Park Association, supported by Wester Hailes Growing Communities SCIO (WHGC).
The garden is being ‘community self-built’ by residents supported by WHGC staff. The garden will provide growing spaces for fifty individual growers and shared growing spaces for a further participants. The garden has a large timber shed for community meetings, preparing shared meals, holding courses, workshops and events. We will be building a second shed for the storage of shared tools, and natural play materials for the adjacent Adventure Playground. The garden is being developed as a community asset, providing a much needed base from which local residents can organise to improve further local greenspaces. Participants will be supported to establish a ‘Growers Association’ to manage the garden for themselves and the local community. Neighbourhood Garden Facebook Page
The project is intended to address food poverty/insecurity in the area, supporting folk to grow and cook affordable, healthy and local food. We hope to work in partnership with The Bridge Cafe to organise regular shared community meals using produce from the garden. We are also working to develop a relationship between the Neighbourhood Garden and the School Farm at Canal View Primary School, which most local children attend.
Murrayburn & Hailesland is a council estate on the South West outskirts of Edinburgh. (pop approx 3,500/1,700 households). Most households live in flats and don’t have access to their own greenspace. When the estate was built in the 70’s it was a great place to live, since then things have become more difficult. The community centre was demolished twenty years ago and never replaced, this together with the drug epidemic in the 80’s and 90’s contributed to the loss of a sense of community. The estate is now characterised by it’s rating as one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland, ranked 347, (0-5% SIMD), with the resulting social isolation, food poverty, anti-social behaviour etc, but this is not a fair view of the community. There are a lot of great people here who want to do well by their families and their community.
The neighbourhood garden project sprang from a door to door survey carried out by ‘The Health Agency’ (a local health and wellbeing organisation) in June 2016 to gauge the views of local residents about future use of the ‘Greenway’ between the Murrayburn & Hailesland. The study found the community were keen for their local greenspace to be improved to provide better play and recreation opportunities. Local partner organisation ‘With Kids’ also carried out a survey in December 2016, with similar results.
Murrayburn & Hailesland Community Park Association
In January 2017, the Murrayburn & Hailesland Community Park Association (MHCPA) was formed to provide a forum for residents passionate about improving the local area (MHCPA Facebook Page). The Association decided to focus first on the creation of a neighbourhood garden on a neglected tarmaced area in the centre of the Greenway. In August 2017, MHCPA organised a community fete at the proposed site for the garden to raise awareness and consult residents about the proposed project.
In 2019, MHCPA received a grant from the Scottish Govt Making Places fund to design the Greenway as a Community Park, and in particular improve the greenspace for play, see Community Park.
As a result of being involved in the garden I've transferred to the gardening dept at work. I just want to learn all I can about growing fruit and veg. I love it.