Lochhead Social Garden Project

Latest News:

April 2024 – We have just received significant funding from a 3 year award from the National Lottery Community Fund and the Renfrewshire Council Sustainable Communities Fund to help us take forward the development of the garden site. These monies will enable us to make some real progress with the basic groundworks before moving on to the installation of some of the buildings and facilities as initially planned.

         

March 2024 – We are delighted to announce that, thanks to funding from the Greater Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Local Action Group and Renfrewshire Council Villages Investment Fund, water & waste have been connected to the site in preparation for connection to the Toilet/Storage when built in the coming weeks.

A Community update leaflet can be viewed here 

LCDT has been working on the Lochhead Avenue site for three years.  During the Covid crisis we installed over 20 raised beds for growing vegetables to support residents who were unable to access shops.  This has now evolved into a space which hosts the Lochwinnoch Community Larder operated by a local charity LEAP, which has become a thriving hub of community activity, offering dignified food provision to over 900 people in the area. Their project receives surplus food from supermarkets and redistributes it to the community. LEAP has also used it as a site for outdoor workshops during the Feel Good Festivals.

A number of other groups also use the site, including Wildcare, a Social Enterprise holiday club offering outdoor childcare during school holidays, Lochwinnoch Force For Nature, a local biodiversity group which uses the site for growing sacrificial crops for wildlife and a local Home Education group which has social meet-ups on the site.

What we plan to do:

To find out the priorities of the community and residents we held several community consultations which identified a number of potential ideas.  We then commissioned a professional landscape designer who produced a bold and imaginative plan based on these ideas (outlined below).

 

We do not want to overdevelop this site. The main features of the plan are:

The Hub

The Community Larder and smaller cabin, providing a meeting/consultation room for hire, will continue to offer a welcoming entrance. Planned is a larger seating area here with tables and a pizza oven, and a toilet block on the other side of the entrance.

 

Market / Large Event Space

From the entrance hub, the main route will lead to the centre of the garden where a large open space is provided for markets. The types of markets suggested are farmer’s markets, zero waste, food and craft fairs. Next to the central open space a large covered wood structure will offer an undercover space for workshops, gatherings, meetings or informal seating.

Play / Workshops / Education

From this open space, paths lead to quiet seating spaces settled amongst the trees, and a deck that can be used for open-air yoga classes or home education outdoors.  A raised walkway will form part of the main pathway to the south of the site through the existing trees, offering dry footing over what can be sporadically wet ground leading onto an open greenspace which can continue to be used by Wildcare and home education groups. A sensory maze nearby will offer plants to stimulate the senses. Some of these areas will be available for hire for kids parties along with equipment such as bell tents and inflatables.

Growing Vegetables and Fruit

A growing space could be used for community growing in some capacity. The raised beds of a variety of sizes and shapes suitable for different ages and mobilities could be for growing annual veg, perennial veg and/or for a soft-fruit cage. We will potentially build a polytunnel or polycrub, and look at supporting seed saving initiatives here.

Pond & Wildlife

A large pond surrounded by a beach and planting areas will offer a different type of habitat encouraging more wildlife to use the site. The adjacent bramble grove will retain a large patch of brambles that are an essential shelter and food source for birds as well as a large variety of species. Brambles can also be eaten by people who use the garden. A significant area has been set aside for long grass and wildflower plants and much of the southwest boundary will be left with the existing undisturbed vegetation.

Community Orchard

An orchard for fruit trees, such as apples, cherries, pears, & plums will be set within a meadow. Within the orchard, benches and picnic tables create an informal place for eating or meeting, or a place just to enjoy the buzz of meadow.

We think this is a unique and exciting opportunity to enhance the environment of the village. We are keen to hear from you if you have any queries or comments: lochwinnochtrust@gmail.com.

You can view our full Project Plan here: LOCHHEAD GARDENS – GOVERNING DOCUMENT


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