Nearly 400 gardening projects across Scotland have harvested over £1.5m since spring 2016. Bags of Help projects have brought people together and closer to nature in fruitful open spaces, generating thousands of hours of volunteering. This investment saw the creation, improvement and maintenance of gardens in public spaces including community gardens, allotments, wildlife sanctuaries, high streets, forests, social centres and public parks.

New gardens have sprouted up, renovations, conversions and maintenance of existing projects have all been supported financially across the breadth of the country north, south, east and west:

  • The Shetland Islands Council regenerated a redundant area of grass in the heart of old town Lerwick into a community garden and Aith Junior High School Parent Council redeveloped the school playground area to make a nature zone and a 'growing our own' area.
  • Mull of Galloway Trust brought the Lighthouse Keepers' Garden back into use for the enjoyment of the community and visitors whilst Stair Park Community Garden Centre, Stranraer, who provide horticultural training for people with learning difficulties and volunteering placements, improved access for wheelchair users.
  • In Fraserburgh, Caledonia Court Sheltered Housing Gardening Buddies developed the adjacent derelict site and Buchanhaven Heritage Society, Peterhead, enhanced the area around their former primary school community hub to make it Blooming Lovely.
  • Way out West in Barra access was improved in two community gardens Cobhair Bharraigh Community Dementia Garden and Garadh a Bhagh aTuath, Mu'n Cuairt, Mu'n Cuairt a Garaidh (Round and Round the Garden). Neighbouring Lochmaddy sprouted the Taigh Chearsabhagh Trust, Growing our Community project which addresses the lack of fresh fruit and veg shops by organising new intergenerational food growing skill sharing activities. This project, supported by the arts centre, includes the use of an exhibition to document progress with drawing, painting and photography.

Our case studies for Garthdee Community Garden, Castlebank Park in Lanark, Letham Primary School Garden Viewpark Gardens Allotments and Plockton High School Hostel also give a snap shot of more of these blooming great projects.

The funding began with larger capital awards of £8,000 - £12,000 on infrastructure. More recently the funding has spread into supporting activities such as sessional tuition, volunteer expenses, tools, training, educational and promotional materials and celebratory events.

The motivations behind these projects are as wide-ranging as the scope and geography. Groups are inspired by beautifying streets, creating social and therapeutic spaces, inclusion, education, sustainability and supporting specialist interests in plants and wildlife.

Just because it's winter it's no excuse to sit on the couch with a box-set. Developed by Social Farms & Gardens Scotland this fact sheet will help you get the most out of your growing site all year round. It shows how you can anticipate and plan for seasonal gaps, involve ‘non-gardeners’ and review the year and make changes.

Want to make your garden greener? Awards of £1,000 - £4,000 are available by applying online to bring benefit to your local community and environment. Need help with your application or just want to bounce ideas of us – find your local Community Enabler.