North Lanarkshire communities come together to create community growing space and outdoor play-space, all made from upcycled waste.

After several community groups in Moodiesburn expressed an interest in having a community growing space, Claire McLaren from the Community Learning and Development (CLD) team paired up with local volunteer group Northern Corridor Community Volunteers (NCCV) to make the idea a reality at the Moodiesburn Pivot Centre.

Between NCCV, The Discovery Group and the CLD, a group of volunteers formed, both local and international, to get the work done: gathering ideas from local youth, forming designs based on these ideas and creating the new space. Notably, the entire space, with children’s play elements, vertical gardens, planters and artistic installations, is made from upcycled waste : mostly metal, wood and rubber tyres. The NCCV volunteer group had to source budget for the project from a variety of funders with volunteer costs being met by Impact Funding Partners Volunteering Support Fund.

Young people who regularly attend programs at the Pivot Centre were trained through greenspace scotland’s Young Placechanger’s programme. They presented their ideas to Kumar Prashant, Indian upcycling artist who led the design and creation of the elements that make up this new community food growing and outdoor learning and play space.

This community-led initiative demonstrates the ability of communities to deliver local priorities at low cost AND demonstrates the potential for waste as an economically and environmentally responsible alternative to conventional building materials.

Getting this intergenerational, direct-action initiative off the ground wasn’t easy. “We needed many weeks and a lot of community pressure to get permission to make this happen.” Says Claire Williams, coordinator of NCCV. “Much of the space was shut off to the public by a large metal fence, and unused, it’s amazing to see the difference.”

Once permissions were granted, the work began. A local senior from the Discovery group cut through the metal fence, waste materials were brought in from local scrapyards and the designs the young people had chosen began to take shape.

Maintenance of the space will be shared by the groups who worked together to build it for just over £4000 and one hundred plus hours of community volunteering. A series of Community Gardening Sessions funded by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will ensure that community members are supported to ensure the space continues to grow.