News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Greening Possilpark health and care centre

The North of Glasgow is a built up area with a priority for creating high quality greenspace. Working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde we transformed vacant and derelict land adjacent to, and just behind Possilpark Health and Care Centre.

We wanted to create a community resource that would benefit the local community, patients and people working in the health centre.

Previously the site was an eye sore with fly tipping and littering.

Possil health centre before makeover

The area is relatively small, but transforming even a small area can make a big difference and we have helped to create an element of high quality greenspace in the heart of Possil.

gardenedited

Instead of fly-tipping, there is now an avenue of trees around the health centre to green it up. The trees are attractive, provide shelter, shade and they control heat in the glass fronted building.

The trees help to connect the built and natural environment. Instead of looking out onto a car park, there is now an attractive view of trees and growing space. Staff within the centre are encouraged to take their lunch breaks in the greenspace and to use the outdoor space as part of patient recovery.

The Back Garden

Due to demand for additional growing space, Concrete Garden worked alongside local partners and ERZ landscape architects to develop new community allotments. 'The Back Garden' opened in November 2014, with 25 small allotments, 10 plots for local groups and organisations, and the other 12 are large communal plots.

Community allotments

Kate Shaw is the recently appointed Garden Co-ordinator: "The garden has got off to a great start in our first growing season – there has been good engagement with the community and lots of tasty fruit and vegetables have already been produced.

"We provide lots of opportunities for people to get involved, ranging from informal drop-in sessions to more structured courses about growing food. There has been a really positive response from the community, with people dropping in for a look round and commenting how much it has changed the local community.

"We have 10 local organisations who have adopted beds. It's a fantastic opportunity for people to learn about growing, developing skills they didn't have before. One plot holder told me 'Having the plot has been great, I've never done anything like this before. It's been a good challenge for me to learn new things.'

"It has been particularly satisfying to see people who have never grown vegetables before, delighting as they pull up their first carrots, or try kale for the first time and tell me 'Kale is my new favourite vegetable!'

Veg grown from the garden

"There are also huge social benefits that are sometimes unexpected for people. One plot holder told me 'I thought I was coming here to learn about growing food and to get my own vegetables, but I've realised that it's about so much more than that. I'm getting to know lots of my neighbours who I never knew before and now when we see each other on the street we wave or stop and chat. It has really changed my experience of living in this community.'

"The garden is used by a wide range of people and it has been great to have staff at the health centre taking on plots and working alongside local residents. It also creates a relaxing space where the staff can come to unwind for a while."

It is hoped the allotments will encourage healthy eating using the produce grown in the allotments, further engagement with greenspace and a sense of community ownership.

The long term plan is to turn it into a community hub with events. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved, learn about growing food, get outside and meet new people. There's lots of activities planned, including weekday and evening gardening drop in sessions, weekend events, family gardening sessions and workshops.

Exercising outdoors in an urban environment

A pre-cast concrete gym wall provides somewhere for children and adults alike to exercise outdoors in an urban environment.

Children warming up

The wall has 10 exercise stations such as shuttle runs, wall hangs, press ups, tricep dips – making it ideal for group workouts, circuit training and for the local school and community sports group to use.

Staff using the gym wall

The area is now also the meeting point for the local jogging network, providing a start/finish point for warming up and cooling down, and to encourage those new to the group to join in.