Community Fund – Grass Roots Remedies – July update

Midsummer came and went, and the Wester Hailes Community Herbal Clinic has been busier than ever, seeing 30 patients in June. As part of our free community education programme we ran a summer herb walk in the Willow Garden in the Calders scheme. Some local residents who are interested in herbalism have started to grow some specific medicinal plants for community use in the Willow Garden and they have been coming along nicely. Two of the plants they have chosen to grow are Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), and St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum), both of which we use frequently in the clinic.


Milk Thistle – Milk Thistle is a longstanding traditional European herb for supporting the function of the liver. It is an exampe of a plant whose old fashioned use has now been substantiated by modern clinical research. It has been found to actually help restore liver function where there is an injury to the liver or liver disease. It is so effective it can even help to reverse the effects of certain deadly poisons like the Avenging Angel mushroom (Amanita phalloides). We use it for patients with liver or gallbladder disease, and to support the liver where it has been damaged through substance use.

 St John’s Wort – St John’s Wort is another very well known herb, and is one which has found recent acclaim as a natural anti-depressant. Although it can be effective at lifting the mood, this wasn’t its original traditional use. Historically St John’s Wort was used to support the nervous system and to heal wounds. It is useful as a pain reliever in neuralgia, sciatica, fibromyalgia and where pain is made worse through anxiety or tension. It can also be used externally as a valuable healing plant and anti-inflammatory where it can speed up the rate of wound healing. St John’s Wort can interact with some prescribed medications, so it is best to consult a herbalist before deciding to take this plant internally.

Community Fund – The Yard – June Update

Summer holidays are fast approaching and everyone is getting ready at The Yard for another busy July and August. During one week over the summer holidays, we see around 250 families using our family drop in sessions. The Yard is open for our families Monday – Saturday, with a number of playschemes in the area also using it throughout the week.

This month our Tuesday girls club have had a very full schedule, and they hosted our first ever volunteer celebration at the beginning of the month. As part of National Volunteers Week, the club wanted to recognise the amazing time and commitment that The Yard volunteers have given up over the year. All the girls at the club loved hosting the evening, with some helping to serve the food and drinks and a number of the girls prepared thank you speeches.

The Tuesday girls club playteam leader Sudha said, ‘it was great to see everyone involved and there were lots of hugs and kind words exchanged by everyone.’ The girls loved it so much that they are looking for a date to hold a night for their parents and carers.

The Tuesday girls club also had a visit at the end of the month from the animal man. The animal man visits lots of our clubs throughout the year, and all of our disabled children and young people love having the experience of getting to hold and feel all the animals. He usually brings a wide variety of animals including ducks, snakes, spiders and turtles.

Community Fund – Scottish Waterways Trust – June update

Schools sessions for 2016-17 concluded with an OPAL water survey conducted by the wonderful children from P4C at Canal View Primary School on 1 June. They trouped along the canal to Hailes Quarry Park, where they collected water samples and netted some interesting invertebrates to check the water quality of the Union Canal. Despite appearances – there is often a lot of litter in the canal here – the water came out top notch yet again, which is great news for the canal, great news for canal wildlife, and great news for the people of Wester Hailes!

All the children in the schools programme this year – and their class teachers – worked extra hard to earn their Discovery-level John Muir Awards. They learned lots about the Union Canal and the wildlife it supports, about boating on the canal and about the history and heritage of this amazing feature of our Edinburgh landscape. They took photos, did drawings, wrote a poem and made posters to raise awareness of the canal and how to keep it beautiful for future generations and safe for people and wildlife. And of course everyone enjoyed getting out into our outdoor canal classroom to feel the fresh air and see the sights… The children at Canal View and Tollcross Primary Schools were presented with their John Muir Award certificates, a water safety certificate, and a nice purple goody bag from the Scottish Waterways Trust as a thank you!

Both the Canal View children (P4c) and the Tollcross children also had the chance to become part of a new canal heritage initiative, the Union Canal Unlocked project, which is a Heritage Lottery-funded partnership between Re-Union Canal Boats, the Scottish Waterways Trust, Scottish Canals and Sustrans. The Canal View children worked with animation students at Edinburgh College of Art to produce three short animated films based on the history and heritage of the Union Canal. Meanwhile the P5s at Tollcross held an assembly where they sang the Union Canal Song by Robin Laing so beautifully that the songwriter himself came to visit the children and sing with them! The recording and excerpts from Robin’s Q&A session with the children will be included – along with the animations – in a smartphone app guide to the Union Canal which is being developed as part of the UCU project. 

Community Fund – School Food Matters – June update

Last month, 500 children gathered at Westminster Abbey’s magical College Garden for a picnic to celebrate their 10th Birthday. It was a true celebration of all things food with tasty picnic treats galore and enough food education fun to last an academic year!

Tom Aikens was on hand to judge the best picnic and they all joined together for a great big Carrot Crunch; 500 folk simultaneously crunching on a raw carrot. Read all about it here –

Edinburgh Garden Partners

Community Fund Focus: Edinburgh Garden Partners

May’s Community Fund focus was on Edinburgh Garden Partners – a charity that focuses on tidy up and redesigning projects for the elderly and those unable to maintain their gardens. As well as this they have a garden sharing scheme which matches people who want to garden with people who have space to share, often older and disabled people.

Our Community Fund team’s project focused on the former, heading to the south of Edinburgh to help an avid gardener restore her garden to how it was when she was able. Our Vegware team of eight volunteers headed down early in the morning keen to get to work. With limited gardening experience among us, the Edinburgh Garden Partners volunteers were great in spearheading the owner’s vision.

Edinburgh Garden Partners

With the garden having three tiers to it there was plenty of work to be getting on with. From weeding to creating a compost heap, along with the Edinburgh Garden partners team, we worked for around five hours in the sunshine working on an array of tasks. Some of the more creative members of our team even tried their hand at bush sculpting, shaping a perfect egg.

At the end of a hard day, our work was done. We learnt some great gardening skills and gave the garden a good platform for further development. Edinburgh Garden Partners do a lot of great work in the community and hopefully our story has inspired you to get involved. If you would like to volunteer, details on how to register your interest can be found on their website.

Edinburgh Garden Partners

Community Fund – Just cycle – February Update

We received an email on Friday  from Cycling Scotland-through Big Bike Revival. They have been talking with A Greener Melrose about setting up a community cycling club-seemingly A Greener Melrose was to have been in touch with us about a tie in with that.

 The University has asked us about  a supply of bikes for students to get to and from Gala Interchange. We will be having a chat  next week about what may be possible-

Supplied approx 15 bikes /trikes to nursery/ primary school in Jedburgh in Feb so that nursery and P1 children may cycle in playground.

 Possible bike hire in Coldingham/St Abbs.  The local community wishes to make bikes available to promote tourism and have been in touch with one of my colleagues in Berwickshire.

 Sales-very good bike sales in February although we still have the trike and ideally would like to sell on to someone who has a disability and  who really needs it. 

Funding –we continue to explore avenues for long term funding that will enable us to employ staff and expand the business.

Community Fund – Garden Gate Project – February Update

The Garden Gate guys enjoyed a couple of outings during the month of February…

We were invited to visit The Turner Contemporary in Margate to see their latest exhibition, ‘Entangled: Threads & Making’ an exhibition of sculpture, installation, tapestry, textiles and jewellery followed by some Arts & Crafts activities inspired by the visit. 

In addition, we also had our annual trip out to Wyvale Garden Centre to buy seeds, plants and indulge in some tea and cake.

Continue reading

Community Fund – Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association – February report

Winter has been such a long drawn out few months and the weather has been very bleak.  However that being said we are all raring to get going with the gardening project and we are still developing our designs and creations through our planning meetings.  Our visit to Dobbies is still planned for 13th March where we will be purchasing all the equipment to progress with our garden and hopefully we will soon reap the rewards from this.