Our Stories

I've recently moved into the area and really like gardening - my first ever job was weeding and I used to get 6 pence a week for it. I often cycled past this site and saw lots of people hard at work, so I got in touch with Marion to ask how I could get involved.

My son Robbie (10) and I have been volunteering here for about 3 months, just in time to help harvest some of the communal fruit ... we used our share to make lots of delicious cakes (today's was apple and blackberry loaf but we've also made gooseberry).

It's easy to make friends here, there's a great community spirit. It's not difficult to spend 3 or 4 hours here at a time - we get so focused on the work that we lose track of time.

"I went to the free Basic Horticultural Skills course at the SCGP and then I took on my own plot. The staff and other volunteers were a great help and I discovered that I was quite good at it. No matter the weather, there's always plenty to do at the Growing Project. I like working outside so it's perfect for me. I enjoy the company and I've made lots of friends. I have a lot to thank Sandy (sessional gardening support worker) for. He helped to build my confidence and encouraged me to move on to further study. I'm at college now, but still help out when I can." Tam

Tam working in the polytunnel with Gerry

"Helping out at the Smelly Welly Club after school is a treat. We spend time sowing seeds, planting, growing vegetables then cooking and eating what we grew. I've learnt to make jam. It's great fun!" Gina

"I look forward to each day I spend at the allotment. I started a couple of years ago when I came to the free workshops to learn about gardening and food growing. At the end of the course I stayed on as a volunteer and I now supervise and support the Wednesday volunteer group." George

“I live next to the allotment and have a view of the community garden from our back window. What a difference the volunteers have made to the area around here. I’m not able to do physical work on the site but I volunteer in a different way. I love baking and I bake cakes for special events like the Family Fun Day and the Big Lunch. Sometimes, when I see the volunteers working on the site I bake some cookies and cakes as a wee treat for them. That’s my contribution and it’s a pleasure to be able to support the project in my own way” Anne

Anne baking us a delicious cake

“My son and I enjoy working together at the allotment. We get a chance to spend time together, out of the house, meeting and mixing with other families while we learn to grow our own food. We both really liked building the archway for the Smelly Welly Club. This year we have our own plot and because we live very close to the project we will be able to pop in any time it suits us.” Bart

“When I get home from work and on my days off I like to head round to the Growing Project. Gardening is a great stress buster and if I’ve had a busy day at work I find it relaxing to spend time in the community garden or tending my vegetable plot. I even like weeding – it’s quite therapeutic. My favourite thing is growing geraniums, sprouts and potatoes. It is very satisfying digging up potatoes after planting them and tending to them for many months. They taste much better than shop bought tatties. Yummy!” Norrie

Volunteering is GOOD for you - volunteering is GOOD for the environment - volunteering is FUN - volunteering is for EVERYONE.

New volunteers are always welcome. To find out what's going on and how to get involved, call Marion Bate on 07530 985 483.

"I took on the plot in June 2015 and with other commitments was only really able to go down on a Tuesday night and the occasional weekend day here and there. Despite this though, I learnt so much about growing. I had never grown veg before, so this was a real first for me with a lot to pickup.

Graham helping out at our Family Fun Day

"Having Sandy there on call with his wealth of information was amazing. He was always exceptionally chatty, welcoming, approachable and gave me full access to his gardener’s brain and knowledge. As well as answering technical questions, he was also really great at getting me to think about problems and come up with my own solutions rather than just always give me the answers; a style of learning I personally, always respond to best.

"People in the project were really willing to pass on and share their information to. If anyone had a tip about growing carrots better they would share this, rather than keep it to themselves, which was great. We would regularly pop into other people’s plots for a look and pickup lots of tips and practical skills. At the end of the night I would always walk home with a rucksack full of goodies and a head full of stories. Any excess food  – herbs, celery, turnips or whatever excess people had grown was always very generously offered around. On the train back home on a Tuesday I would often get funny looks, stinking of celery and herbs, covered in dirt with carrot tops growing out my rucksack.               

"On our breaks, when we stopped what we were doing to congregate around the Fisherman’s kettle and Tunnocks tea cakes, we had some great chats, got to know each other and shared aspects of our lives with each other – good and bad. This was a real highlight for me, as there was a real mix of people, ages and backgrounds and it was just really healthy to share our experiences over a cuppa in a lovely garden. People would bring friends, family members and children into the Garden, so I got to know people in the local community and how they all linked in together. Being in a nice space, with a friendly bunch of people, focused on food growing but getting to know each other at the same time was just great. All our lives can be tough and when things don’t go so well, it’s always good to share our experiences, which is something we very much did at the garden.

"The connection between the community garden and mental health is a very clear one for all to see. I saw frowns turned upside down every Tuesday!!!"

This is what Graham grew between June and December 2015: 9 beetroot, 12 spring onions, 3 cabbages, 6 leeks, 4 Romanesco broccoli, 16 carrots, 10 small pumpkins and 1 large pumpkin, 14 gherkins, at least 100 French runner beans, 4 enormous celery plants, 3 Brussel sprout plants, loads of kale, huge amount of parsley and huge amount of lettuce

(article by Andy McGowan, one of our plotholders)

On the morning of September 25th 2015, Shettleston Community Garden had significant damage done to its property. A fire brought down two wooden enclosures. Anyone who is associated with the Community Garden would have felt shock and dismay once they heard the news or saw the charred remains. The tone of shock and dismay was caught well in a report of the incident featured in the Evening Times. People were "devasted", "heartbroken" (Evening Times 29th Sep 2015).

And in the heat of the moment there were many asking themselves and each other, what should be done? In moments like this we look for security; from arsonists, fire bugs, even the local community. I took time to speak with many people involved in the Community Garden regarding the incident in order to gain an idea of how we felt as a collective.

What materialised from those conversations was the sentiment that this incident does not reflect the local community and it should not hinder the potential for this space to become a hub for communitarian spirit in the East End. Shettleston Community Garden is a place where the values of community and positive social interaction are alive and well; and have been since its inception. The space which holds so many plots and greenhouses is about more than just growing food; it has played host for many events and initiatives which are geared towards a communitarian spirit.

Once such event was The Big Shettleston Sleepover. Tents were pitched, hot food was cooked on site and a marvelous evening was passed by all on a cold March night. The event was a massive success and achieved its aim; to raise awareness regarding Fuel Poverty, a plight which is a part of many people's lives in the East End of Glasgow and throughout the city at large. Money raised through sponsors was converted into Electricity Cards and Gas Cards so that those suffering through Fuel Poverty may find relief. Such an event is indicative of the role the Community Garden seeks to play in the local community, raising awareness of issues which affect people’s lives and bringing the community closer together.

This is seen also in the Community Clean Up event. Children from the local community and beyond met at the garden and then picked up litter in the surrounding streets. Young people set an example as they took an active hand in showing people in the community how it's done, how we can promote the value of respect for the streets in which we live by keeping them tidy off our own backs.

The growing levels of interaction between the local community and the Community Garden have been witnessed during our August Family Fun Day, which is increasing in popularity each year. Families are made welcome, food is eaten courtesy of harvests from the many plots and a good time is had by all, adults and children alike.

The incident with the fire may have been shocking at the time, but as time passes and the fear goes with it, we can remind ourselves of the great work the Community Garden is doing in the East End of Glasgow. Indeed, looking forward, we can see that the incident with fire did indeed cast a dark cloud, but one which has a silver lining.

The wall behind the Potting Shed also fell victim to the blaze and has since been leveled. This has emphatically improved the aesthetic qualities of the space, enlarging the central area and opening up the garden so that the eye can fall upon more flowers, more tidy plots, all the way to the back where the fruit trees and berry bushes line the back wall. And as the area is opened up, so does the possibility that this space can be utilized, so as to open up new opportunities for positive social cohesion and interaction with the local community.

The Potting Shed and the Smelly Welly Club are gone, for now. But Shettleston Community Garden is still here, as are the many dedicated volunteers who are still open to the local community and look forward to welcoming new friends to a place where faith in community is alive and well!

I've recently moved into the area and really like gardening - my first ever job was weeding and I used to get 6 pence a week for it. I often cycled past this site and saw lots of people hard at work, so I got in touch with Marion to ask how I could get involved.

My son Robbie (10) and I have been volunteering here for about 3 months, just in time to help harvest some of the communal fruit ... we used our share to make lots of delicious cakes (today's was apple and blackberry loaf but we've also made gooseberry).

It's easy to make friends here, there's a great community spirit. It's not difficult to spend 3 or 4 hours here at a time - we get so focused on the work that we lose track of time.

Margaret Rodger, Manager of Kirktonholme Nursery in Shettleston, emailed us some great feedback after we helped them to develop their garden area, which now includes flower displays, a herb garden, a yellow flower box and a strawberry patch.
Margaret wrote "I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you for your support in helping Kirktonholme Nursery develop our garden area. When we first decided that our main development area was our garden, our staff team were all a little concerned as none of us have a good knowledge about plants and flowers and did not know where we would begin. When I telephoned you it was a plea of help as there does not seem to be any other project that I have ever heard about which offers the same guidance and support. You provided a very quick support service by coming to visit us and sharing your knowledge with us. Thereafter, your team worked hard to give us an established garden which I am so pleased about. As a manager within a nursery, I feel it is so beneficial to be able to implement sustainability, looking after plants and flowers and the growing of our own produce to children at such a young age to be able to provide them with a better future
You also kindly invited us to visit your project where I witnessed your team's hard work in progress. Young children and teenagers showing an interest in planting and taking a focus on something which benefits their future was so lovely to see. The fact that you have this sanctuary for children and teenagers to go - not only to learn about enterprise and the growing of their own food but not be loitering about the streets is a valuable asset for this area. During our time walking around your project, I felt that we were in a totally different world - it was like a ray of hope in a struggling area, where children were sharing, working together, supporting each other and most importantly - sharing the same hopes and goals. There was no prejudice, total equality and inclusion and this is such a nice thing to see nowadays where too many children are open to segregation and discrimination. Also the service you provide to ensure that people within your area, such as ourselves, benefit from your knowledge has been extremely helpful.
I hope your project continues indefinitely as you give people hope and a way forward. As for ourselves, we now have a garden area where our children are learning to grow their own produce, care for flowers and plants - and for those children who do not have a garden at home or live in flats, you could not have provided a better gift. We hope to access your help in the future to continue to develop our garden and would like to say a big thank you from all the staff and children at Kirktonholme Nursery - may your project continue to flourish and in turn brighten everyone's lives around you."

I saw the article in Shettleston Housing Association’s newsletter about the growing project and noticed that they were looking for volunteers to help out in the community garden. I was looking for an outdoor activity to get involved in so I called the Project Co-ordinator, for more information. I am not in the best of health so it was important for me to find a project which suited my needs. Marion assured me that the raised beds were designed with disabled people in mind (less bending) and being a novice was not a problem as everyone is welcome. Having a toilet on site was important, not just for me but for my little grandson, Sam (7 years old), who wanted to help as well. Sam and I have become very much part of the ‘growing community’ and I was happy to be involved in organising the Open Day. I have learnt a lot and made new friends along the way. Other members have encouraged me and I am now confident enough to try growing my own vegetables. I have been allocated my own plot and, with Sam’s help, I have planted some winter vegetables including cabbage, kale, onions and garlic. Sam loves it and it is good for him to learn at an early age.

Last month I was delighted to be named as the project’s ‘Gold Star Volunteer’ and I am looking forward to joining the committee at the Re-Gen Awards Ceremony as the group has been nominated and shortlisted in the Action in the Community category.

Margaret Gracie

Sam’s wee brother, Ben, was born just three weeks ago and we have taken him with us a couple of times. I think he is the youngest member but we can’t get a pair of wellies to fit him!!


I’d wanted an allotment for a while and when I saw the article in Shettleston Housing Association’s newsletter I made enquiries and got involved in the Steering Group. I am now a member of the management committee and help with the development of the project.

Carol at the Open Day

I had never grown vegetables before and I am delighted to have successfully grown mangetout, sweetcorn, carrots, courgettes, lettuce, tomatoes, basil, onions and spring onions. I enjoy seeing the crops grow and have recently become a fan of the Beechgrove Garden. Family and friends can’t believe that I now spend my Fridays nights in front of the telly taking notes on how to grow vegetables!

The allotment is a wee oasis in the middle of Shettleston and I love spending time there on my own. It is a great place to go for some peace and quiet but I also love the community aspect. I like busy times when there are other people to chat to and we are all learning together.

I got involved after hearing about it from my neighbour as I wanted to try growing veg. It's my new hobby - I like the fact that the site is nearby and every time I'm there, there's always someone who can help if I need it. Susan with her turnips

I've grown my own potatoes, turnips, lettuce and onions - I'm just amazed how easy it has been. I'd definitely recommend this to others, though I think it could be better advertised locally as lots of people don't know about it.

Susan and Marion

To Whom It May Concern:

As a parent of three children from the Shettleston area, I would like to thank all those who were involved in the organisation of the local allotments. The "Smelly Welly Club" was a special favourite of ours. This Club has been a fantastic outdoor activity that my children and I have all enjoyed so much so that they have asked for an allotment of their own for Christmas!!

The Club has taught not only my children but me also how to grow our own fruit and vegetables and that not everything comes from Tesco. The allotment encouraged my children to try more varieties of fruit and vegetables because they had planted and grown their own!

The people that were involved taught all the kids how to look after the plants that they themselves had planted. This gave the children a sense of responsibility and great pride in all that they had accomplished! The Club even covered Beasties, Bugs and Insects and the role they play in fertilisation. The Club gave my children aged nine, five and three the opportunity to meet their neighbours and join in and contribute to their local community. Living in a tenement flat curbed this side of my children's development both physically and socially and the allotment filled this gap.

The Club hours were great as it allowed enough time to do what was needed without the kids becoming restless or losing interest. Even in inclement weather, the Club still opened its gates. This is the best outdoor activity that we as a family have ever been involved in and I am personally saddened to learn that it is to finish in the near future. I feel that there are still a lot of things that we could all learn. We never got the chance to go through the ever changing seasons and we would have liked the opportunity to continue.

It is my opinion, and in speaking with other families who use the allotment, that it would benefit the whole community if funding was made available for our wonderful "Smelly Welly Club".

Yours truly

Kathleen, Josephine, Jessica and Robbie