The transformation of an overgrown Eyemouth allotment into a vibrant space for local youngsters to work together and grow their own food is currently underway.
Stripping the land right back to basics before starting to replant the allotment has been hard graft for the Connect Berwickshire Youth Project team who have taken on the project but they are now beginning to see the fruits of their labour as it starts to take shape.
The project has become a real community effort and Connect staff have been joined by two youngsters working on an employability scheme, local landscape company Spatial Integrity and volunteers from Eyemouth Men’s Shed group which rents space in the TEDDA building now occupied by Connect and used by dozens of local youngsters each week. The team have been clearing the ground, building raised beds, renewing the fence and turning it into a fantastic space.
Meanwhile a group of 10 Eyemouth Primary School P7 pupils have been involved in the project planting seeds which will be planted out. They have been working with Connect staff two hours a week since September last year as part of a scheme which aims to help them prepare for transferring to the high school after the summer and as well as working on the allotment project pupils have been making crafts from natural foraged materials, beach art, cooking with their produce and planting trees in their local area.
“We also work in partnership with Eyemouth High School who are very kindly sharing their poly tunnel and greenhouse space for our growing while our space is being built,” explained Connect’s Tracey Dick, who is managing the allotment project.
She added: “We are hoping to involve their senior horticulture students once the space is established. It’s been amazing to see the allotment space change so much in the past couple of months, the young men involved are transforming it.
“Cory, our first young person on board, had a hard month in January clearing the space and battling against the elements but he saw it through and we are now in the process of laying gravel, a patio and building raised beds.
“In February another young man, William, came on board so we have a little team working away. By the end of March everything should be in place and it will be a great place for young people to come and learn some skills and grow their own produce.”
Connect project manager Steve Wright said: “I think it’s organisations like ours that can be innovative enough to come up with projects that give benefit to the community directly.
“It’s fantastic seeing the young folk working up at the allotment and their hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed by members of the community. The two lads have worked very hard and that’s set the tone of what the allotment will look like with lots of young folk growing lots of things.”
Connect worked with Berwickshire Housing Association who had secured Coastal Communities funding for an employability project. BHA joined forces with Connect, funders agreeing that £20,000 could be used to pay a school leaver to help with the allotment preparation work. One school leaver turned into two and both were supervised by Connect staff, working alongside the landscaper with the possibility of being taken on by the business at the end of March if they came up to scratch.
Follow progress at the allotment on https://www.facebook.com/EyemouthAllotmentProject/