The Inverclyde Shed was established in 2019, and in 2020 a few members expressed an interest in starting a community garden with the aim of offering different activities, growing their own food and being outdoors more.
Shed members met with local councillors and the local authority representative, who helped them identify a space just off of Shore Street, Gourock which had initially been set up as a community garden for the local school and church group, but was not currently being used. They discussed how they might take on the management of the space and invest in enhancing it.
The local authority offered Inverclyde Shed an annual rolling ‘License to Occupy’ for the site, which is quicker to get agreement on compared to a longer-term lease. This suited the organisations at the time, as there were a lot of unknowns in terms of resourcing the site, funding to enhance it, and the general practicalities of managing a site that, although ‘hidden,’ is open to the public and unsecured.
Since the agreement has been put in place, Inverclyde Shed now has a license to include a larger area which is used for orchards, and the external space is invaluable for providing respite for people’s mental and physical health during the pandemic.
Today the garden is loved locally as people can walk through it and see what is growing and going on. Vegetables are grown for the Shed’s members but are also donated to veg boxes to the local food pantry and elderly care homes. The garden also functions as a base for other gardening activities: the Shed’s members have taken what they have learned on the site and used it to help over 30 schools and nurseries across Inverclyde to establish small growing spaces with classes, visiting the garden to get guided tours and talks about topics from growing to composting.
Find out more about how you can get involved.
You can keep up to date with the Inverclyde Shed’s gardening at Shore Street, along with their second Community Garden and Orchard in Port Glasgow here: instagram.com/shorestreetgardens/