August 1, 2012
Transforming space with TLC and seeds
To walk past neglected, derelict land each and every day of your life must eventually take its toll on how you feel about the place you live and perhaps even how you feel about yourself. Glasgow’s Possilpark estate has more than its fair share of urban wasteland and a few years ago, some local residents decided to take action. What was once an area of drab tarmac and weed has been transformed into a giant splash of colour. They’ve just been nominated for an award.
Annie Brown, Daily Record
IT took a lot of digging, a few thousand seeds – and loads of love. Residents of a Scottish housing scheme have transformed a grey concrete eyesore into a beautiful wildflower meadow – a stunning oasis of colour.
The people of Glasgow’s Possilpark grew so weary of looking at the derelict space they decided to take forks and spades into their own hands to transform the environment. A beautiful meadow overflowing with a rainbow of wildflowers is now growing in the acre of land, once full of rubble and rubbish and now lovingly called Possil Meadow.
Each household of Possilpark lives within half a mile of derelict and vacant land, compared with 26 per cent of the Scottish average. One of the key volunteers, Jain MacIntyre, who lives in the area, said it was demoralising to be faced with sprawling grey, day in and day out.
She added: “It was so depressing to walk by it every day. People do start to feel like no one cares, that their area is just being left to neglect. So we decided to do something about it.”
Friends of Possilpark Greenspace held their first meeting in December 2008. One of their key aims was to create spaces where kids can play and people of all ages can enjoy. They wanted to raise the standard of the environment and involve local people by giving them ownership.
There are now a number of projects across the area which the group are working on. They include the nearby Brothers Path site, which has had a tarmac path laid and flowers planted. And the Clay Pit, which is a small area of urban wilderness leading from Spiers Wharf to Maryhill Locks.
Jain said: “People stop to take in the beauty of the meadow, where before they would have scurried by with heads down.” The area has much deprivation and has been troubled by gangs and vandalism, but the meadow has been respected by all.
Children made big wooden flowers for the meadow and all remain untouched. Jain said: “The children were so enthusiastic. They really loved it and threw themselves in to it. It was wonderful to see.”
So many of the children in Possilpark become disillusioned by the struggle around them, but improving their environment was one way of bringing hope and ambition into the area.
Their efforts have been rewarded with a nomination in the Scottish Green Awards for Best Green Community Initiative. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner on October 4 at the Scottish Science Centre in Glasgow. Jain said the project has been about making people realise they can make a difference. She added: “It was about teaching them that they could do something to improve their environment, and I think respect for the area grows from that.
“Everyone has taken great pride in the meadow and the other projects because they were part of it.”