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Nursery project continues to grow


A project which is aimed at growing people and not just plants was given the go-ahead by an Aberdeen City Council committee yesterday (Tues 15 March) to continue to develop its plans.

The Communities, Housing and Infrastructure members agreed that Hazlehead Grove Nursery continues to develop into a working nursery and a facility for community use.

Common Good funding of 100K was allocated to the project in 2015/16 and this budget is currently being spent on the sites infrastructure ie drainage, poly tunnels, paths and fencing. Late last month (February 2016), Aberdeen Greenspace also awarded a 50,000 grant to the project.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure vice convener Councillor Jean Morrison said: "2016 is a very important year for the nursery. The project has now successfully established itself as a place for growing plants and growing people, and it has also been award winning.

"The nursery now has to take the next positive steps to becoming the social enterprise 'growing and sharing' project that has always been the ambition.

"The next step in the project is to develop the fantastic ideas in place and make them a reality and allow for the space to become an active and productive nursery, grow plants for use across the city, but also for growing people – training, educating and inspiring people to develop their skills and passion for gardening.

The nursery will make a real difference to people's lives."

The original Hazlehead Grove Nursery site was used by Aberdeen City Council to grow and cultivate trees, plants and flowers for use in its park and gardens. The nursery was closed in 2009. Part of the site continued to be used as a depot and store by Environmental Services.

A key element to the success of the nursery will be operational greenhouses and poly tunnels. This will allow for the partnerships with social enterprise to blossom and see plant and flower growing a reality. With this in place for the Spring of 2016, locally grown plants being used by the service across the city could be a reality, with the additional social benefits of helping to develop and 'grow' both our own and social enterprise staff.

Money will also be spent to allow the site to be cleared and levelled to create areas of growing space. These spaces will become a 'blank canvas' for the many community partners we envisage being part of the project. These spaces will take time to grow but they will become inspirational, exciting gardens and classrooms.

Successes in the current financial year include work carried out by Foyer Works, Aberdeen Play Forum, Drugs Action Group, Aberdeen City Council's Healthy Minds, Foyer Impact Group, Aberdeen City Council Countryside Rangers and Woodland Rangers, along with 20 bee hives permanently located on site, and the site was used to store and mulch the service's green waste and this was successfully completed in 2015 saving the council significant costs.

The WEA Reach Out Project has confirmed that it will be joining the nursery adventure and will begin in early 2016.

Plans are underway for a 'Growing and Sharing' initiative, whereby people will have access to tuition in growing produce and the harvest will be shared with local communities, possibly via food banks.

A business case is currently being drafted seeking to improve the facilities at the nursery that will see an office for Environmental Services staff, a base for the Countryside Rangers, a community hub / training facility and a small depot for operational staff.

An outdoor educational space / outdoor classroom will be developed and available to all the city schools, and plants are to be grown here as part of the council's Butterflies, Bees and Trees. 2016 campaign. The project will be included in some form in the route for the 'Britain in Bloom' and 'Beautiful Scotland' judges in 2016.

Other organisations which are interested in taking part include Transition Extreme, the RSPB, Aberdeen Green Space, and Wee Green Spaces.