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Help needed as community garden takes shape

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Help needed as community garden takes shape

A 'MAMMOTH' task of clearing land in Sandside to create a community garden is underway.

But changes have been taking place behind the scenes, with Sandside Community Garden Project Association opting for an initial 12-month service level agreement — instead of the ten-year lease offered by Dumfries and Galloway Council.
A spokesman said: “(We’re) opting to take the route of a 12-month service level agreement, with a view to pursuing a community asset transfer dependent on the success and progress of the project throughout the said 12 months.
“So with the license to occupy under our belts and all the appropriate insurances in place, we have embarked on the mammoth task of clearing and developing the land.”
Community members and the donation of plant machinery from local businesses has allowed the central area of land at the end of Sunderries Road to be cleared.
But the spokesman said: “The next step is to get the top soil in, which the local council have kindly offered to help out with.
“Following this we have plans to install a composting area, poly tunnel and raised beds, alongside outdoor cooking/eating facilities and fire-pit with seating.
“This will compliment the installation of a portable building in the far corner — another generous donation, this time from the YMCA.”
The group say their aim is to build an inviting green space that will play host to community events and workshops while creating training and employment opportunities in the process.
However, they acknowlege a ‘shoestring budget’, which included £1447 from the council, and are grateful for generous community support.
Main priorities in coming weeks are the relocation of a portable building from Lochside, and levelling the ground in preparation for the arrival of the 50 tonnes of topsoil, with hopes of hosting public events from late spring.
But noting the dwindling bank balance, the spokesman said: “We would like to take this opportunity to appeal to local businesses and residents for any help that they might be able to offer.
“This could come in the form of equipment, building materials, time, resources or expertise.”
Anyone interested is asked to email [email protected] or call to the site any Sunday from 12 noon onwards.