by Andy Devine
The Bellsmyre Community Garden team adapted to the pandemic challenges and continued to thrive under the guidance of Martin Love and Pat Lally.
They were just about to launch their spring plant sale in March 2020 as the first lockdown started and moved this to an online click and collect system so the public could still purchase plants from the community garden.
The system was a success and this year the group sold over £800 of plants on their first day.
By adapting working hours and the number of people on-site to follow the Covid 19 restrictions, the Bellsmyre team grew a substantial harvest of fruit and vegetables to share with the local community.
Martin even found time to make a movie about beekeeping for the Growing West Dunbartonshire Virtual Growfest event.
New local residents got involved during lockdown with several joining to help tackle isolation or health conditions.
This increased the team’s skill base, allowing them to take on major improvements to the site.
This included creating a new walled storage area for soil and compost, building four new raised beds and a new workshop, and turning old barrels into raised beds for community groups.
They also demolished an old pergola to make way for a new polytunnel donated by WDC Greenspace.
Not ones to rest on their laurels, the group also worked with WDC Greenspace to support Bellsmyre After School Club, Bellsmyre Nursery and the Cutty Sark Centre to create their own growing spaces where younger residents can grow their own food.
Another success was the refurbishment of the storage container on-site where a local graffiti artist helped the group decorate the container, brightening up the site entrance.
The group are also lending a helping hand to other community gardens in Dalmuir and Clydebank.
Martin said: “This has been a challenging time for everyone and the garden has meant the team has a space providing exercise and camaraderie for our members.
“The size of the site meant we could work in small socially distanced groups spread across the garden.
“The ability of members to adapt and support local residents who joined the group and socially isolated members of the local community means we now have a waiting list for individuals to take on beds.”
There are several community gardens across West Dunbartonshire, to get involved contact WDC Greenspace.
Telephone: 01389 608413