Merrylee Plotholders Association


Your story

We are Community Allotment Gardeners who are passionate about vegetables, the environment and the benefits of 'grow your own.'

Group introduction

Merrylee Plotholders Association exists to provide garden growing facilities in a densely populated, multi cultural area of Glasgow. The site has been a working allotment garden for 100 years with a current membership of nearly 100. We have 34 full sized plots and 54 half size plots and an area dedicated to 10 raised beds which allow elderly members and the disabled from the local community to join us 'down the plot'. We also have 2 half plots for 2 local primary schools where the pupils can get hands on experience of growing their own food. Even on a small scale this is a successful project with teachers reporting an increase in interest in their respective gardening clubs. Our small team of dedicated members who support this schools work find it very rewarding too.

Our membership is multi-cultural and we are delighted to have many young families from a variety of ethnic backgrounds who bring energy, enthusiasm and a fresh way of working an allotment plot based on their own cultural backgrounds. Many of our members live in flats and high-rise blocks and would have no opportunity to grow without our facility. Disabled and infirm members from the local area get a wonderful experience, being able to cultivate the waist high raised beds and we have built many strong relationships with the local community. We also have a number of refugee families who find allotment gardening a great way of settling after the harsh experiences in their past. They find the multi-cultural membership stimulating and are very keen to be involved in all activities despite the challenges of English not being their first language. 'Grow your own' is also a much more economic way of life, so those members who have little disposable income enjoy the financial benefits too.

A volunteer committee of 10 manages the Association. They meet monthly to arrange on going site development, finances and fundraising activities. They manage the membership and waiting lists which is currently 16 with an estimated 24 month wait. The committee also allocates spending for the plot’s communal equipment and running. Committee and further volunteer ‘sub groups’ arrange various social events for the members and we hold an annual 'Open Day' where the local community are invited into the garden to explore, learn and buy fresh produce, baking, teas etc. We also offer guided tours and fun nature based activities for children in an effort to ‘normalise’ gardening on an allotment scale for the youngsters who don’t have direct access to gardening themselves.

The committee also arranges 'master classes' to help members with horticulture problems and to offer best practise ideas for the allotment. These events are particularly liked by the younger members of the association who have little garden knowledge but immeasurable enthusiasm.

How would this funding have an impact on your community?

The Members’ Shed has no disabled ramp and we think it is time this was remedied. This shed is the centre of activities for members social gatherings. It contains our growing library of gardening books, magazines and reference material and has the kitchen facilities for making hot drinks, heating soup and washing up afterwards! It is the gathering place for committee and other meetings and provides wet weather cover for members who do not yet have a shed or greenhouse. Our application is to support the cost of building a timber-decked ramp at the door of the Members’ shed to include traditional steps and safer landing platform outside the shed door. This arrangement will include an arm rail and baluster for the ramp and steps. At the moment none of our elderly or infirm members and certainly neither of the 2 members in wheelchairs or our most elderly member and his walking frame can join in activities or committee meetings in our Association shed. This development will transform that problem, we have 12 infirm/elderly/disabled members in the association and many (15?) more who cannot get into the shed safely without substantial effort. We currently have 2 slabs and breeze block for steps. The timber decking project will have anti slip timber pieces for the ramp and platform with wide treads and lower risers to help less able members climb the steps.

""I absolutely love this place and grow your own produce. I get to meet and learn from people with the same interests” Amie McSherry, Member of MPA and a wheelchair user with a raised bed"

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