The Story So far: It started with wood and some vision…
The Winchburgh Community Growing Group (WCGG) was formed in 2018- a group of residents got together to use growing to connect and build a new community. Winchburgh Development Limited (WDL) had permission to build over 3,500 homes on the edge of this former West Lothian mining village. From the outset, the growing group and developers recognised how they could work in partnership to make Winchburgh a welcoming, attractive and greener place. The Growing Group were initially donated wood to build 50 planters scattered throughout the community. Local volunteers and businesses were encouraged to adopt and care for herbs or food planters under the banner “Food that is right up your street”. Other projects have included fruit tree planting with local schools in the village park, bulb planting throughout the village, tree planting in the new Auldcathie Community Woodland area, a regular high profile at village events and during the lockdown, the start of Winchburgh Wombles!
The Wombles, contracted quarterly by Winchburgh Developments, keep the village litter free. In exchange, volunteers earn vouchers to spend with local businesses and monies to support the WCCG finances. In September 2021, the group moved onto their 1.5-acre community growing site, a repurposed landfill site. The growing area has been capped and fenced, forming part of Auldcathie Park. WDL has paid for planning permission for the garden portacabin and polytunnel. The group: encompassing a diverse range of members with a broad range of skills, have begun regular work sessions to plan, develop and grow their new garden space together.
Land Agreement: No formal land agreement. The land, as a former landfill site, can’t be used for anything else. The garden next to the new play park and part of the new Auldcathie Park has helped integrate the growing area into community life. Families accessing the park stop and ask questions.
Advice to other groups:
“Don’t be scared to ask. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it! We have worked hard with Winchburgh Development Limited to develop mutual trust. Right from the start of our working relationship with WDL, we were promised a larger piece of land if we proved demand for it and proved ourselves. Key to our success has been developing and maintaining a high profile across community life.”
Read more about the Winchburgh approach.