Summer 2018 has been ACLI’s most productive yet! With volunteer days held every Thursday, successful open days, and school groups visiting to help out during term time, the community gardens have been bustling with life. Below are photos which highlight the success of this summer!
Groups from Arran High School and Whiting Bay Primary School have enjoyed learning and helping out in the community gardens, despite the often unpredictable weather that Scottish summers bring.
Thanks to Whiting Bay Primary School P6/P7s who have planted 70 native trees and looked after the veg patches as part of their John Muir award!
We had a fabulous day with 140 pupils from Arran High School and teachers with loads of teacher-led activities to get stuck into!
A tea party was held in the Community Hub, for Contact the Elderly!
Our open day on the 5th of May involved informative talks with visiting Apple expert, John Hancox, camp fire cooking and herb box making!
The open day on 28th July was busy with members of the community getting involved in activities such as ‘dig your own’ potatoes, camp fire cooking, den building, an Arran Bee Group hive demo, as well as relaxing strolls around the garden, allotments and orchards!
Arran Farmers’ Show
ACLI’s stall at the Arran Farmers’ Show attracted lots of attention from both visitors and locals. Luckily the rain stayed off until the afternoon, so the show was busy – a great opportunity for people to learn about the project.
Spot Cleo, one of our Trustee’s dogs, manning the stall!
Volunteer Days and Garden Produce
Below are some photos of our weekly volunteer days, and some of the bountiful produce harvested from the community allotments and poly tunnels this summer. Veg has been available throughout the summer for purchase at the hub building. We would like to say a massive thank you to all of our dedicated volunteers, allotment holders and trustees, and last but definitely not least – our modern apprentice Kieran, and two gardeners, Matt and Darren. Here’s to many more years of community involvement and local food cultivation!
For further information, photos, and updates on events and volunteer days please visit our facebook page:
There is also a short video available of the ‘Go Green’ event at Arran High School
Trustees Review November 2016
2015-6 was a very busy year for ACLI with the successful submission of plans for a community garden, allotments, polytunnels and hub. Grants, secured by Rachel Sedman, ACLI Funding Officer, came in and gave the project further momentum. 4 part-time sessional workers were appointed in April to take responsibility for delivering teaching elements of the project and Pippa’s contract as Project Manager was renewed for a further year thanks to funding from the Climage Challenge Fund and the Robertson Trust. Additional funding from Community Food & Health Scotland, the Postcode Local Trust and D’Oyly Carte, meant that establishing these plans could become a reality. It’s hard to believe how much has been achieved in the space of one year: the community garden, 12 allotments, a bee-keeping area, an orchard, a whitebeam tree area, the opening up and use of the quarry, paths and tracks made and repaired, taps installed, two polytunnels plus a hub building – our thanks goes to all those who have volunteered on the land especially Andy McNamara for bringing up school groups from the Arran Outdoor Education Centre to plant the orchard and protect the trees with deer-proof cages. The session workers, Jenny and Andy MacDonald, Ceilidh Keyworth and Matt Searles have been working hard to deliver a staggering range of workshops: making your own natural beauty products, green woodworking, composting through to using pallets, successful veg. growing and kids activities. There is now a regular kids club on the first Saturday of the month and a group from Arran High School visit each week with Matt Searles for outdoor learning. Unfortunately there were not enough takers for the advertised UHI horticultural course to take place this year on the land but we hope that with further marketing by Argyll College and more evidence of infrastructure such as the polytunnels and a warm indoor meeting place, this will start to happen in 2017.
Plans for Future Periods
We invited local experts to carry out baseline surveys of all flora and fauna over the last year and there are now plans to develop part of the upper site with a walkers’ path and bird hide overlooking the ‘wilderness’ reedy area. This area will be left as undisturbed as possible to encourage wildlife and it is hoped that wildlife walks could be provided. Two large fields will be mown for hay with a view to creating income from much-needed hay for local pony-owners. Pippa now sends out a monthly newsletter and there are plans to continue hosting visiting school groups particularly those that are interested in conservation work and the John Muir Award. There are plans for further tree-planting with deer-proof enclosures. The lower fields are now rented out with 6 pony lets in total. There is no further space for pony lets. Perhaps thoughts need to now turn to further income streams as the project strives to become more self-sufficient. Data will be collected on carbon-savings (results of composting and food growing) and submitted to the Climate Challenge Fund. Pippa’s role up to March 2017 is now to manage the sessional workers timetable and to submit claims and reports to the Climate Challenge Fund. It is hoped that with further successful funding bids she will continue in her part-time role as Project Manager through to 2018 and oversee the improvements of the site’s infrastructure as well as being the main contact for visiting groups. Trustees continue to meet twice monthly and welcome any input from ACLI members. They endeavour to support Pippa and take on some additional tasks of grant form-filling, accounts, publicity and planning.
Following a successful ‘Strategy Day’ for the Trustees in September 2015 and last month’s AGM (2015), we are pleased to present some key objectives relating to longer terms plans for the land, as discussed amongst the membership.
These are of course a ‘work in progress’ are will evolve over time with input from the community at large as well as the Members and Trustees. They should be considered rough targets rather than objectives ‘set in stone’.
However, if you follow the link below you will be able see our principal hoped-for outcomes over the coming years, broken down by the areas of Income Generation; Educational, Training & Volunteering; and Environmental and Health Benefits.
Thank you to all the schools and the staff at Arran Outdoor Education Centre for tree-planting!
We are pleased to let you know that the Orchard Windfalls Fund to purchase 30 apple trees has been confirmed! These will be planted up in the autumn with the help of local schoolchildren. We are hoping that locals will donate other fruiting shrubs such as blackcurrant bushes which can also be planted up this autumn or in the spring next year. We need to erect deer fencing along the north boundary of this field area and have set up a textgiving fundraiser for this – just text ACLI20 £3 to 70070 to help us protect the orchard.