The Wegga Story & The WISH Garden


WEST END GROWING GROUNDS ASSOCIATION
The WISH Community Garden Story
Background

In 2011 the Glasgow and Clyde Director of Public Health launched a Paisley West & Central Community Council-led project funded by Renfrewshire Alcohol & Drugs Partnership. Titled WISH – West End Is Safer and Healthier, it organised public consultation andparticipation events aimed at improving health and wellbeing.  A recommendation was a wish to see better community use of spaces.

Sutherland Street Growing Grounds

In 2011 the Community Council obtained a two-year renewable lease from Renfrewshire Council on two former tenements sites in Sutherland Street Paisley. Part-funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, 17 plots of raised beds were created and designed mainly for the benefit of local residents.  It is currently managed by WEGGA –West End Growing Grounds Association - a constituted sub-committee of the Community Council. Renfrewshire Council has recently confirmed that the sites are still scheduled for housing, as part of the West End Area Development Plan. Twelve months lease termination notice is required. 

Stalled Spaces

In 2015 Architect & Design Scotland and Renfrewshire Council launched a Stalled Spaces Fund aimed at improving neglected and/or redundant community spaces. WEGGA obtained a grant to improve and maintain spaces in Brown Street and Underwood Lane. WEGGA members have achieved this with the aid of the Environmental Training Team, Restorative Justice Teams and Linstone Housing Association. Renfrewshire Local Area Committee also funded the purchase of a mower and strimmer for this purpose. A further Stalled Space grant has been received to provide more enhancements on both sites.

Carbrook Street Site

The 2016 initiative, to create a community garden on this Renfrewshire Council 3,144m2 site, arose from a local resident and a representative of the adjacent Paisley 7th Scout Group. At a joint Engage Renfrewshire meeting, it was agreed that the proposed project was best managed by WEGGA with a management committee that includes residents local to the Carbrook Street site. 
To determine the degree of community support WEGGA letter boxed 550 local households. As a result, 70residents formally indicated their support. Of these, 43 requested raised bed plots.
Renfrewshire Council has approved the first stage of a community asset transfer of the site to Paisley West & Central Community Council. The final stage is the submission of a business plan that satisfies the Council that the project can be sustained in the long term.                
  





 
Grant Aid
WEGGA has received a grant of £5,000 from the Stalled Space Fund that has to be spent by 31st March 2017. It comprises £2,000 for a Design & Development Consultancy and £3,000 for initial ground preparation and the provision of 20 raised beds.
Design & Development Consultancy
To ensure the completed project accords with the community‘s wishes and benefits from the best professional advice and experience, a Design and Development consultancy approach is considered essential. This will inform the business plan and, in turn, allow transfer of ownership of the site to the local community. It will also assist grant aid applications.
The specification called for two budgetary costed options for a community garden that provides low maintenance, energy/water conserving and, potentially, income generating facilities. It invites new innovative ideas but expects that a club house/educational facility and some common-use green-housing would be a feature of both options. Proposals will include at least one site visit and two local community meetings at which detailed plans will be discussed and agreed.
Mike Hyatt, the landscape architect responsible for the Lottery-funded Renfrew Garden of Dreams has been appointed, and with due process, is scheduled to produce an agreed proposal by 31st March 2017.  The outcome will inform the Association’s business plan and the second stage application for an asset transfer of the site.  
At its 19th January Management Committee meeting, the Association unanimously agreed it was appropriate to recognised the Project’s origins and that it should be known as the “WISH Community Garden”