Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Dundee City Road Starts Open Day Season

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Now that the growing season is well under way allotment associations are beginning to think about Open Days.  They definitely involve some work, but are well worth it both to connect to the local community and to fund raise. Soon plot holders will have surplus produce to donate, or may already have made jam out of their soft fruit.   One of the earliest we have been notified about is the Open Day at Dundee’s City Road Allotment Gardens on July 30th.  It sounds like a great day out.  The posters give full details (click on the thumbnails to read them), particularly about the competitions for children which involve advance preparation.

CSGN Community Project Fund 2017 now open for applications

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The Central Scotland Green Network want to hear from groups who would like to deliver a greenspace project in the heart of their community.  CSGN believe that greenspace projects are of most benefit to communities if they are delivered in cooperation with the people who would benefit most.

Grants of up to £1000 are available for projects such as:

  • conservation and education projects such as developing a safe natural learning space
  • biodiversity diversity activities such as planting and improvements to ponds and wetlands for wildlife
  • developing a community growing area

This list is not exhaustive, any new and innovative ideas would be welcomed.  To find out more about this scheme and learn how to apply visit their web site.

Call for 2017 Living Garden Mentors

Monday, November 28th, 2016

SAGS has been part of the Living Garden at the annual Gardening Scotland Show near Edinburgh for many years now. Living Garden mentors is an exciting volunteer opportunity to provide support to Eco-Schools entering the ‘One Planet Picnic Pocket Garden competition’ – the winning gardens will be displayed in the Living Garden next year (2nd – 4th June). As a volunteer mentor, you would offer up to two hours of time (this can be more if you wish to) to support a local school, but you should not produce the design or build the garden on behalf of the school. If you would be interested in becoming a volunteer mentor, please get in touch with our secretary  (secretary@sags.org.uk), as soon as possible and not later than 12th December and she’ll send you further details about what’s involved.

Climate Challenge Fund continues for another year

Friday, January 29th, 2016

ClimateChallengeAllotmentThe Climate Challenge Fund is once again open for applications.

The Scottish Government has made £10.3 million of funding available for community-led organisations to run one year projects that tackle climate change. Grants of up to £150,000 are available per project. The funding is for one year projects with a start date of April 1 2016 and a completion date of March 31 2017.  The deadline for applications is February 19 2016.  The development of many of Scotland’s new allotment sites was made possible by grants from this fund.  So it has a record of being well worth the effort for a new allotment group as well as being a source of funds for upgrading existing allotment sites.

As long ago as 2009 six allotment/community garden related projects were kick started by this fund.  Since then there has been a steady stream of successful allotment applicants, one of the most recent being  Killandean Allotment Association in West Lothian, where summer of 2015 was the first full growing season.

To find out how to apply see the Climate Challenge web site.  If you feel uncertain about the suitability of your project, or the amount of work involved, do get in touch with SAGS.  We have many members who have succeeded with the scheme and can offer advice.

CSGN Development Fund Launched

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The Central Scotland Green Network has just announced its fund for projects to be implemented in 2016/17. The projects can start in April 2016 and should be completed by the end of February 2017.

One of the strands that will be funded is Community Growing: Formal or informal projects …. engaging local communities and encouraging the Good Food Nation ethos (that people in Scotland are able to buy, serve and eat food that is affordable, healthy and sustainable). They are looking for fairly big projects in this area – there is £100K available and minimum size of project is £10K, but a group looking to start up or regenerate an allotment site in the CSGN area may well be able to write a successful proposal.

To find out more about the grants on offer, to determine whether your project is in the eligible area and in general discover how to apply see their web site at http://www.centralscotlandgreennetwork.org/resources/funding/csgn-development-fund

Land Reform: A new political challenge!

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Just when you think it’s safe to relax and concentrate on weeding the plot another political challenge comes along.

The Community Empowerment Act has just passed through the Scottish Parliament.  SAGS is as confident as possible that Section 7 of the act will help to protect allotments into the future.  Now we must turn our attention to the Land Reform Act that was published in June of this year and is now going through a consultation process.  The publicity surrounding this bill has concentrated on its possible effect on Scotland’s sporting estates and the emphasis has been very much on rural land.  However the bill is about ‘widening the ownership of Land’  in general, about transparency of ownership and about the protection of Common Good land.  These issues apply to urban land just as much as to rural land.  Since the bulk of Scotland’s population lives in urban settlements it is vital that access to underused or derelict urban land is taken as seriously as that to rural land if increasing urban food production and ‘grow your own’ is to be supported.

Sags committee members have been looking at the bill and have created a response to be submitted to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee which is currently considering the act.  The response can be downloaded and viewed by clicking here.

 

Danish Allotments feature at the Edinburgh Festival

Sunday, July 12th, 2015
Allotment Gardens. Vennelyst, Copenhagen

Allotment Gardens. Vennelyst, Copenhagen

As part of the Nordic House at the Edinburgh Festival Lesley Riddoch, broadcaster and Director of Nordic Horizons, is organising an exhibition of Nordic landscapes.

The Danish “entry” is about one of the earliest kolonihaver or allotment gardens. Birger Andersen, who has the kolonihaver described in the exhibition would be available on 30th July in Edinburgh for a meeting to talk his site and discuss the similarities and differences between the way Danish and Scottish allotments work.

This talk would be of interest to all plot-holders because of the different mixtures of sites in Copenhagen with both traditional Scottish-type allotments and those like Vennelyst with quirky huts for summer living. In addition the Danish Government stipulates there should be ten gardens per 100 flats without a private garden, so there are seventeen thousand plots in the city. Edinburgh, with a population roughly similar to Copenhagen has approximately 1300 plots.

The suggested time for this talk and discussion is 2pm – 3.30pm on July 30th in Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh.
Please confirm your attendance to Judy Wilkinson at judy@atlas.co.uk and she will send more information

Battles still to be fought to make the CEB really work for allotments

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

The Community Empowerment Bill has now been passed by Holyrood. Thanks to the hard work of our members it establishes the principles of 250 sq.m. standard plot size, 5 year maximum waiting time and fair rents.  We are delighted and you can see our press release here

However it is too early yet to celebrate ‘job done’.  A lot of work still needs to be done to flesh out the bones of the legislation and this will be done over the next few months in guidance notes and secondary legislation.  For example at the moment no money has been identified to enable local authorities to acquire land for the allotments they are supposed to provide.  Until the 1970s the health budget could be tapped, but this was removed in new local authority legislation and no other budget has been identified.  Without money LAs may argue that it is not possible to take ‘reasonable steps’ to provide allotments.

We need to ensure that this anomaly and others are dealt with.  Any pressure that can be brought to bear on the government to ensure the legislation is not watered down will be greatly appreciated. Please write or email your MSPs, telling them how pleased you are that the legislation has been passed, and that you hope the secondary legislation and guidance notes that are to follow will ensure that the local authorities cannot wriggle out of their obligations.

Opportunity for keen photographers

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is running its first ever photography competition featuring greenspaces in the Central Scotland Area.  Greenspace can mean a lot of things. The parks that people play in, pathways that are used for cycling or walking to libraries and schools, the trees that are planted in the middle of a high street, an allotment where local people are growing their own vegetables – that’s just to name a few.

CSGN are looking for the best images of greenspace and green infrastructure that the CSGN area has to offer.  There are three categories. Winning entries in each category will receive £250 and up to 12 shortlisted entries will receive £50 each.

For full details of categories,  entry deadlines, the precise area covered by CSGN and other terms and conditions of entry click this link:
http://www.centralscotlandgreennetwork.org/news-and-events/photo-competition

Wouldn’t it be nice if an allotment photograph was a winner!

Allotment Associations and Water Charge Exemptions

Friday, March 6th, 2015

A few local authorities cover water charges as part of the service they offer their allotment plot holders.  But for many allotment sites, particularly those that are self managed,  water and sewerage charges can be a major burden on their funds.  A new scheme introduced by the Scottish Government may enable such plots to gain exemption from these charges.  However nothing worth while is ever simple, and allotment associations may have to jump through some hoops in order to get there.

This scheme, introduced in January 2015, is aimed at “charities registered with the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and Community Amateur Sports Clubs, which meet the scheme requirements and which have an income of less than £200,000”.  Sadly allotment associations do not count as Community Amateur Sports Clubs, but several newly formed associations have already set themselves up as charities and it may well be possible for existing associations to do the same.  A letter received by Nairn Allotment Society, which has decided to go down this road, says that they can have till 31 March 2016 to apply for exemption for the year 2015 – 16.  So there may still be time to do something for this year, and in any case the government web site implies that the scheme will carry on in future years.