Community Wealth Building Example

WHALE Arts - Community Wealth Building in Wester Hailes

The Whale Arts community garden is a beautiful space for the whole community to enjoy. The garden surrounds the Whale Arts building and is open to the public to enjoy the space, orchard, planters, woodland, firepit, benches, meadows, herb and vegetable beds.

The garden is incredibly important to the community who use it for picking fresh, local fruit and vegetables, walking their dogs, sitting and meeting friends or volunteering to maintain the space.

Vegetables grown in the garden

The garden also provides food for the free community meal that takes place every Friday lunchtime, inviting the community to come together at Whale Arts and learn about seasonal local food collected in the garden and how it is grown. They have a had a continuous harvest of salad leaves this year, along with gluts of courgettes, runner beans, blackcurrants and raspberries. More recently, they had a fantastic crop of autumnal potatoes, parsnips, beetroot and carrots.

Volunteers in the garden are motivated to help out for various reasons such as improving their knowledge and skills in growing fruit and vegetables, propagating house plants, contributing to sustainable local food by reducing their carbon footprint and getting fit and increasing their strength by physically taking on heavy tasks in the garden. Volunteering is a workout and the best green gym!

We had a brilliant turn out to our first Taster day in the garden at the end of September to harvest some late fruit and vegetables and introduce new attendees to the garden, allotment, house plants, kitchen, foraging and mushroom growing opportunities for volunteers.   
‐ Rozanna Shah, Community Gardener, WHALE Arts

Rozanna Shah, the newly appointed Community Garden Coordinator explains the importance of their volunteers."We always try to tailor the experience to accommodate the needs of our volunteers, for example one volunteer sustained a wrist injury at work and wasn’t sure if she could come and still help out in the garden. We reassured her if she wanted to come along we could find her some gentle tasks to take it easy and still spend time in the garden. She loved picking blackcurrants and taking herb leaf cuttings along with repotting house plants and was very happy to be active and connecting with other volunteers whilst she was off work. Her contribution was vital to help set up our house plant enterprise selling plants and reinforced that there is something everyone can contribute and learn regardless of their ability".

 "September also saw some drama with some stormy weather causing a crack and damage to one of our planters and trellis with concerns we may lose the large sage and honeysuckle growing up them. We had all hands on deck including our men’s makers DIY group dismantling the planter, taking the soil out and reinforcing the lower levels of the planter to save as many plants as possible. We are now hoping to rebuild the planter and potentially redesign the whole area to incorporate steps or a seating area also."

To find out more about the garden and their other exciting projects visit WHALE Arts .