A PATCH of wasteland will be transformed into a community orchard – creating an “oasis in the middle of the city”.
The Quadrant in Lochend had been blighted by dog muck and used as a dumping ground by fly-tippers but will be transformed by the Lochend Community Growing Project.
The community group applied for £500 from the Get It Sorted Together initiative – a joint project between the city council and the Evening News – and were thrilled to hear their request had been granted.
Project worker Ally Hurcikova said the funding would allow them to get youngsters involved from local groups the Ripple Project and the Youth Bus.
She said: “The site is very visible and is currently used only for occasional fly-tipping and frequent dog fouling, which is very unsightly and very unpopular with local residents – but not for much longer.
“We have been doing community gardening in Lochend for a number of years now but we have not had the involvement of younger people in the community so far.
“This money will give us the means to bring them in and join in with this fantastic project.
“Our aims are to bring the community of Lochend together in inclusive greenspace projects, to grow and share our own food, and be happier and healthier and stronger as a result.
“It is something that we hope will be enjoyed by everyone in the community for a long time to come.”
The grant will be spent on fruit bushes, planters, soil and compost, as well as publicity materials to advertise their community events.
An orchard of damson, cherry and plum trees will be surrounded by an edible fruit garden which will be maintained by the young volunteers.
The actual planting and works on the site, on land at the corner of Lochend Quadrant and Lochend Drive, are only expected to take four days.
Once finished, it will be open for the rest of the community to enjoy and group treasurer Dot Stuart said they could not wait to get stuck in.
She said: “It’s wonderful news. It means we can turn something drab and uninspiring into a lovely wee orchard. There’s four wee corners we are working on, making them better for the community.”
The team have already created the Lochend Secret Garden with various groups – including Seasons, a council-run mental health service, Prospect Bank Special School, Hermitage Park Primary and Marionville Court Care Home – benefiting from the results.
City environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “This is a lovely project which will transform an unused piece of land into a wee oasis in the middle of the city. I wish the Lochend Community Growing Project every success with their plans.”
The joint campaign, between the city council and Evening News, was launched to give people the help they need to carry out these projects, support local communities and improve neighbourhoods.
To apply for a grant, visit www.edinburgh.gov.uk and search for Get It Sorted Together.
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