Emma Harper MSP has praised the progress of the Sandside Community Garden Project in North West Dumfries, which is onto Phase 2 of its transformation plan.


The Project, which was established as a constituted volunteer association in January 2016, is turning what was a derelict illegal dumping site into a welcoming green-space open to the local community to enjoy and take pride in its upkeep.


With Phase 1 complete – which involved taking the site over, cleaning it up, putting in grass, and erecting a perimeter fence – the next stage has included the building of raised flower beds to allow people of all abilities the opportunity to grow plants and vegetables in the garden.


Commenting Emma Harper MSP said:


The community garden will be a great way to connect people of all ages across the whole community, which will include engaging with local school children.
“The raised flower beds will make them accessible to everyone, and having the opportunity to grow things helps people appreciate where their food comes from and how it’s made. Flagstone paths have also been laid which will make the area accessible to people in wheelchairs.
“This was my third visit to the garden and it’s fantastic to see all the changes made to transform it from an illegal dumping ground filled with litter to something that will bring people together in a really positive and inclusive way.
“I will be relaying the conversations I have had with Mr McGregor to the Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Aileen Campbell, and Kevin Stewart, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, who have both made regular visits to Dumfries in the past, for advice on lighting the garden from a sustainable source.”
Paul McGregor, Chairperson of the North West Dumfries Area Partnership, said:
We would like to thank Emma Harper MSP for visiting our Sandside Community Garden Project.
“I welcome that Emma will be lobbying the Scottish Government to look at ways to provide a sustainable lighting and energy source for the garden so that we can expand how and when the space is used by members of the local community.
“Sandside Community Garden Project is keen to work with the Scottish Government to explore the potential of new, innovative technologies that will produce power in order to address additional needs as the use of our outdoor community garden space develops in the future.
“Karen Wylie and Michelle Johnstone from Lochside Community Association (LCA) are keen for the garden to flourish as they believe its continued success will help nurture members of the community with the many social health benefits that volunteering to create beautiful, green spaces offers for those who enjoy socialising and gardening.
“The Garden and the LCA are exemplifying community partnership in terms of supporting their neighbours in the North West and potentially looking to work out ways in which to help the garden grow and promote its diverse benefits to not only Sandside residents but the wider community as well, for example, it would be lovely if our LCA kids could visit the garden for recreation and outdoor learning activities and the October Grub Club sessions would welcome visitors from the garden.
“I’m really pleased with the progress of the project so far. The volunteers and agencies involved have been absolutely fantastic and it’s hoped that we will be able to open properly next year.”