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Growing Connections

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Blog - An urban gem in Toryglen - February 2019

Grantee - Urban Roots

What we set out to achieve

The Growing Connections Project will develop and deliver an ambitious green spaces improvement and engagement plan in Toryglen, with local people and other third sector organisations.  The project will link green space activities in Polmadie Plots Community Gardens and Allotments, Malls Mire Local Nature Reserve, Toryglen Community Base and the green corridors that link these areas.  Activities will include volunteering groups to grow food and improve local biodiversity, out of school activities for children and young people, community events and gatherings, taster sessions to encourage wider participation and Citizen Science and training activities to develop skills and knowledge.

Where the  idea for the project come from
Urban Roots has been working with local people for the last eight years to improve the environment in Toryglen.  The success of this work has led to our involvement in projects to empower people to improve their local environment and their health and well being in communties across the Southside of Glasgow.  The idea for the Growing Connections project grew out of a desire to increase the impact and quality of our work in Toryglen and bring further transformation to the area and people’s lives.  Ultimately we hope that the successes of this project work can then be replicated and shared in other areas of our city.

How communities have helped us develop our ideas
Urban Roots was originally started by three local people who wanted to change the area for the better.  Since then local people have remained active on our board and steering group and have shaped our project proposal. Urban Roots volunteers have designed plans for community gardens in Toryglen and have been crucial in building and planting new areas and are enthusiastic about expanding and improving the natural landscape areas looked after.  Partner organisations have recently consulted widely with local residents and community groups about their hopes and aspirations for the area which has informed the development of this project.

How the project fits into the bigger picture
There is now widespread evidence of the benefits to health and wellbing that getting outdoors and getting active can have.  Whether this is through the therapeutic effect of nurturing plants from seed to growth, active play and learning outside, taking part in physical activity outdoors or simply through the benefits of living somewhere that looks attractive and is safe and looked after, the provision of high quality green spaces in urban communities provides common ground to bring people together to share and grow.  Ultimately, caring for nature and the environment around is a reflection of how we care for ourselves and each other.

Where we would like our project to lead us
Our vision is for thriving networks of healthy green places for play, learning, food growing and nature across the city.  Specifically in Toryglen, we would like our project to lead to widespread use of green space, not just for organised activities and clubs, but for everyday use by local people. We hope that the project will attract further investment into the area to substantially change the urban landscape, improve the appearance  and use of currently vacant land and explore possible options community land ownership in the area.

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