Community engagement, Drumchapel

Growchapel: Plotting healthier futures

With COP26 well underway in Glasgow, global focus has turned to listening and acting in order to realise a safer and healthier future for our planet.

This process of collaborative action is central to what we do here at Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland. We give children and young people a platform to voice their concerns, and we take action on what they consider most important for living happy and healthy lives.

Given the focus on sustainability initiatives taking place across the world right now, it’s the perfect time for us to highlight a particular project that is capturing the imaginations of young people in Drumchapel.

Growchapel: Tackling local issues through collaboration

Back in 2019, the Neighbourhoods, Regeneration and Sustainability department at Glasgow City Council worked with Police Scotland and local people in Drumchapel to gather ideas for better utilising areas of land that had become hotspots for antisocial behaviour.

A range of ideas were discussed, but a ‘growing space’ emerged as a clear winner for how the community wished to see this space used.

With momentum building, a steering group was then set up with local community members and residents. Together, they established ‘Growchapel Community Garden’.

‘Growchapel’ is an inclusive community-led project, aiming to use Gardening Therapy as a way of helping those members of the community struggling with mental health issues, addiction and isolation.

Youth engagement has also been a central principle for the project too, with young people from G15 Youth Project involved in creating a site plan for the community garden.

Their efforts resulted in plans for a dynamic space, featuring accessible plots and polytunnel areas for planting and growing, a sensory garden, terraced wetlands to enhance biodiversity, seating areas, and social community spaces.

There was even room for an outdoor classroom, and a pizza and bread oven for fuelling ongoing alfresco community collaboration!

A group of young children learning to make autumnal wreaths at Growchapel Community Garden
The ‘Growchapel Community Garden’ has become a space for outdoor learning.

Plotting healthier futures

Ahead of opening the community allotment site, the steering group were keen to keep local young people at the heart of the project’s development.

Impressed by the success of ‘Keep Drumchapel Tidy’, and the way this initiative had blossomed from the views and opinions of local children and young people, the Growchapel steering group approached our Local Coordinator for Drumchapel, Iain Corbett.

Iain was invited to join the steering group, and he has subsequently established a plot within the site solely dedicated for use by children and young people in Drumchapel.

Since launching this space in October, Iain has been involved in sessions with the International Green Academy, which researches the benefits of school gardens designed and utilised by pupils.

Looking ahead, the plan is to let local school pupils take over part of the plot and engage in different gardening activities – such as growing pumpkins for next year.

As well as this, Iain has been busy engaging with the Glasgow University Environmental and Sustainability Team (GUEST), with the aim of involving students in the running of workshops for school children which encourage the use of the growing plots.

A selfie taken by CNS Local Coordinator for Drumchapel, with a group of six colleagues at Growchapel Community Garden
Iain has been busy connecting with different partners, ensuring young people are at the heart of ‘Growchapel’.

Combating the climate crisis

To coincide with Glasgow’s hosting of COP26, Iain will be helping to run an event for Langfaulds Primary School at the Growchapel Community Allotment site on the 5th November.

Here, pupils will get to take part in a range of activities – from autumnal wreath-making, through to seed-planting, composting, and more.

This event will be supported by partners from International Green Academy, University of Glasgow’s GUEST team, as well as colleagues from the Possibilities for Each and Every Kid (PEEK) project.

Keep an eye out for updates on all the action throughout the day – when pupils will learn all about climate justice, and how they can play their part in combating the climate emergency.

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