Category Archives: all news

Community Fund – Fundación Fauna de la Amazonía – July update

It has been much hotter and a bit drier around the land this month. However, thanks to the water storage tanks on-site, we have not run out of water for a while. Sometimes in August, when the rivers and streams run much lower for a time (usually just a few days, but sometimes a week or two) we have to be more careful regarding how much we are using.

Recently, Omar Tello, the Vice-President of the Fundación, spent some time on the land and brought with him some endemic trees and other plants, as well as some seeds to be planted up, and some volunteers to help while he was there. Omar is the driving force behind “Jardín Botánico Las Orquídeas” in Los Angeles, Pastaza, and has been a long-term supporter of our conservation activities and our plans to develop the animal rescue centre. See….

Pete has been continuing to develop his own project on his land close to ours and he has also been carrying out basic maintenance and keeping an eye on the Fundación‘s land while we have been a little lower on numbers.


One of our other neighbours has recently seen evidence of tapirs close to their habitations. Tapirs are large mammals related to horses and zebras and are listed as an endangered species due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and hunting. It is the largest mammal in the tropical Andes and is vegetarian. It is estimated that there may only be 2500 mature individuals remaining in the wild in South America and their numbers continue to decline.

Unfortunately, another of our neighbours has been seen carrying firearms for ‘protection’ as he had seen evidence of large cat (probably ocelot) footprints on his land. Usually such cats tend to avoid being near people and rarely, if ever, attack. Again, reduction of habitat, increasing use of land for farming and the results of global warming are all having an effect on where endangered animals may live and roam. Hopefully he is not going to be shooting ocelots and tapirs! People are becoming more aware of their ‘at risk’ status and are a little less likely to be killing them…………………..

We are delighted to include some photographs, this month, from some of our recent visitors to the land: Andreas Kay, Danilo Medina, and Pete (Peter Archer). Many thanks to them for allowing us to use their photos. These photos and others on their various sites give a small glimpse of the huge variety of different flora and fauna around the land and within Ecuador.

Community Fund – Garden Gate – July update

Our Music Day on 22nd July was a great success and raised £5000 for the garden. Bands played from 2pm into the evening, botanical cocktails, salads and pizzas made from produce from the garden were served and everyone had a great day despite a little drizzle of rain.
Some of our guys from the garden completed their ‘Recovery through Activity’ course in July. This 16-week course is to encourage attendees who have, or are suffering from mental ill health to engage in various activities and explore the benefits of being involved and re-engaging in creative, community, physical, outdoor and leisure activities.
Last but not least, we have had a bumper crop of a great selection of tomatoes.

Community Fund – COCA – July update

Times flies when you are growing veggies! Another month has passed, and it’s time to celebrate the end of the hungry gap. This month we harvested cabbage, sprouting broccoli, carrots, beetroot, chard, three different types of kale, potatoes, radishes, courgettes lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and French beans for our weekly organic veg boxes.

Besides the sowing, transplanting, harvesting and weeding (a mammoth job in itself!), a lot of work has gone into reviving COCA’s fruit area. Equipped with gloves, sickles and a strimmer we won the war against nettles, brambles and grass and the blackcurrants and raspberries have been freed so that out members can now pick their own berries.

Despite all the good news, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Blight got to our potatoes and all foliage had to be removed to save the crop. More news from the (battle)field: the “caterpillar squishing squad” (aka our WWOOFers) has been active to combat cabbage white butterfly and to save our courgettes and squashes we have received special permission from the Soil Association to use organic slug pellets. 

Sneak Peek for August: We are holding our annual Harvest Party on the 18th and 19th of August. Let’s get together for some great live music, talks, walks, food, drink and much more, everybody is welcome!

Community Blog – The Yard – July update

There have been lots of fun and exciting summer activities happening at The Yard over July, with lots of our members coming along to our drop in family sessions every day of the week. This month our 18-25s transition club have been organising lots of fun Saturday evening activities which included hosting their very own ‘Y in the Park.’ This has been an annual event for the 18-25s club for three years now, but this year it was shaping up to bigger and better than ever. With the help from a couple local businesses and volunteers, The Yard was transformed with a main stage, barbecue area and an indoor and outdoor dance floor. Luckily the weather stayed dry and the night was kicked off by some of our young adults singing their favourite pop songs (including a number of Little Mix hits). Everyone was soon up on the dance floor, and enjoying the barbecue and ice lollies. The playteam had arranged for two local bands to come along and sing, and everyone had a great time dancing and listening to them.

Thanks to the money that we receive from the Vegware community fund, we are able to continue to organise these events for all the children and young people that attend our youth clubs.

Community Fund – Rowanbank – August update

Families throughout England and Wales are finding some mysterious happenings in their local forests this Summer….The Magical Woodland Walk faeries are appearing in the trees with their trapezes, hula hoops, fiddles and golden tea pots, and delighting audiences with their unruly tea parties!!
So far we have been welcomed by the Woodland Trust in Cefn Ila, Marl Hall and Coed y Gopa, Greenpeace at Glastonbury Festival and The World of Children at WOMAD Charlton Park, as well as enjoying other woodland and seaside shenanigans along the way in Bristol, Cardiff, Devon, Anglesey and beyond.
We are now very busy rehearsing for THE ‘flying competition’ in the beautiful forests of Norfolk. You can follow our footsteps on Facebook and write to us via The Swallow Mail delivery service.
Thank you so much Vegware, for helping to support our work, without your help this tour would not be possible. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our other supporters: Christine Banks costume design, Aerial Animals and The Woodland Trust.

Community Fund – Grass Roots Remedies – July update


The summer months bring an abundance of one of my favourite herbs – Marigold. It is a versatile herb with many uses in herbal medicine both traditionally and in modern times. This article will take a look at its attributes. Marigold flowers continuously throughout the summer and is easily grown from seed in most soils. It also self-seeds easily, ensuring a continuing supply each year.

Latin: Calendula officinalis

Other Names: Pot Marigold, Golds, Ruddes, Mary Gowles

Parts Used: Flower petals and flower heads. Traditionally leaves were used more.

Historical Used: The name Calendula in Latin was given by observing the bloom of flowers at the end of the calendar months over summer hence “calends.” It has been used at a nutritious herb for centuries in cooking and medicine. There has been documented use of Marigold as far back as 1655 with a herbalist called Fuller stating “We all know the many and sovereign virtues in your leaves, the herbe Generalle in all Pottage.” He describes using Marigold for headaches, jaundice, red eyes, toothache and ague (an old word for fever). It was associated with the virgin Mary and again with Queen Mary in the 17th century. Culpepper mentions it in his herbal as being hot and dry therefore under the sun. It was used to promote sweating and draw out fever. He also mentions its use in small pox, measles and for easing the jaundice associated with liver disease. It was used during times of plague and pestilence for reducing fevers and for warts and hot swellings. In cheese making, Marigold petals could produce a yellow dye similar to that of Saffron. Externally, it could be used on insect bites and stings as well as on gum disease, nose bleeds and cysts. It was commonly used in broths as a comforter to the heart and spirits, indeed even looking at the plant could supposedly dispel negative thoughts and improve eyesight.

Modern Uses: There are similar uses of Marigold today and with modern scientific investigations we know that the herb contains resins, flavonoids, triterpenes, bitter glycosides, essential oils and mucilage. The resins are antifungal, anti-bacterial and promote wound healing as they as astringent to capillaries. It has shown to be of use in treating bacterial infections caused by staphylococcus and streptococcus. Also similarly, we still use Marigold to stimulate sweating during fevers and it has value in the treatment of liver disease like hepatitis and gall bladder issues.

One of Marigolds key attributes is its anti-inflammatory action, so it is a key herb in treating conditions of the skin. It is useful for healing cuts, old ulcers and slow healing wounds, minor burns, sunburn, rashes, athletes foot, ringworm and thrush. Nursing mothers find it a useful herb to soothe sore nipples and to apply to nappy rash and cradle cap. In conditions like acne where there is often a toxic and internal inflammatory element, Marigold can be used to encourage the elimination of toxins through the lymphatic system and the liver and has shown to enhance the immune system. The wound healing action can be applied internally as well as externally for conditions like gastritis, stomach ulceration and colitis. Another common use today is for thrush and it can be used directly by using a vaginal douche of an infusion of the plant as well as being taken internally as a cleansing antifungal.

Community Fund – Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association – August update

The garden is now progressing very well and furniture in the shape of a tables, chairs and a smaller table have been identified and ordered. Below are pictures. We have yet to see any birdlife make use of the birds nest in the tree and the variable weather has impacted upon the flourishing of flowers and produce. We have however been able to grow some strawberries successfully and a number of plants have bloomed. Moreover, the hanging baskets at the entrance to the Centre look fantastic and certainly lend the premises and added beauty. When fine weather has been favourable, service users have enjoyed sitting in the garden and the sheltered area at the north corner has proven highly popular.

Below are photos of tables and chairs we intend to purchase.

Community Fund – Scottish Beekeepers’ Association – July update

For most July is the start of the holiday season, but not so for beekeepers! The summer months are our busiest time, whether it’s harvesting honey, dealing with swarms or if the weather is rubbish, checking the honeybees have plenty stores!

Schools however are most definitely out for summer!! We’d the pleasure of being invited to two summer camps. First, Toryglen After School Service, where we met some wonderful children, keen to learn more about honeybees and all they do to help us. Cracking crowning moments!

Next, we headed to Off Grid Kids in Glasgow, where we found a lively bunch raring to learn and gosh did we share lots of honeybee facts! The buzzy bees enjoyed their foraging hunt for delicious nectar!


We were delighted to send one of our junior beekeepers, Harriet Sweatman, to represent Scotland at the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB) at Marlborough College in England. This meeting is for young beekeepers (aged 11 to 16 years old) from all over the world, to team up and carry out various beekeeping challenges! 21 countries from as far afield as India, Russia, Lebanon and Denmark took part this year and we’re delighted to say Harriet was part of the team who came second, go Harriet!!

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – July update

Life on the canal continues to be busy and vibrant and there is great anticipation in the air due to the forthcoming Edinburgh Festival and Fringe which will bring an abundance of visitors to the city.   The recent completion of the upgraded towpath from the Falkirk Wheel site to Edinburgh , has opened opportunities for communities from outwith the city boundaries to access the city centre via the canal towpath.  These upgrades have increased the usage of the towpath as an active travel network helping: connecting canalside communities; increasing physical fitness of local residents; giving access to the built natural and cultural heritage of the canal to all ages and abilities.

 Volunteers on the Canal

Adobe have been out again helping with the maintenance and upkeep of the Edinburgh canalside.   A total of 13 people participated in theses volunteer days and participated in a range of tasks including; sanding and oiling benches, painting bollards and gates, weeding and planting native wildflowers.

Canal Shed

New members are always welcome, with stories or skills to share and an open mind and heart to meet new people, try their hand at new activities, and be active in their local canalside community.

In July:

  • We welcomed a group of young people who were on an exchange visit from the USA. They greatly enjoyed their tour of Polwarth Church – and of course Dawn and Nathalie’s cakes – and lent a willing hand (or rather 42 hands in all!) to the gardens and other useful tasks.
  • We had a special visit from Sam Adderley of Re-Union Canal Boats, who told us about some exciting volunteering and training opportunities based on the canal.
  • We also had a session with Tom Gold, who as well as being an amazing outdoor educator and bushcraft survival expert, is also a trainee life coach. Who gave us a short talk on what Life Coaching is all about, and will do some taster one-to-one sessions with those who would like to take up this opportunity.
  • Also joining us were some volunteers from the Edinburgh office of CGI IT, who are keen to see what we get up to and lend a hand on the canal.

Canal Shed will be closed on Wed 26 July and 2 August.

We now have two new members of our staff who have joined our team in the last few weeks: Lisa Snedden – Canal cultural heritage officer and Claire Martin – Community Engagement Officer,  Both will be working with the Edinburgh communities to ensure that the built natural and cultural heritage on the Edinburgh union Canal will be maintained.