Oxfam Unwrapped helps make a greener Craigmillar
David Eyre UK Poverty Press Officer
28th Sep 2012
Oxfam Scotland CASE Business Manager Sandra Macaskill blogs about how local people in Craigmillar have created brand new greenspace for themselves in Craigmillar.
Craigmillar, in the south of Edinburgh, has been undergoing regeneration for the last 10 years, supported by the Scottish Government's "Green Quarter Plan".
The plan is being led by the PARC Life Development Company. It aims to create new parks and woodland throughout the area, build 3,200 affordable houses to rent and provide improved learning and leisure facilities for young people.
The original intention had been to fund the rebuilding of the community from the sale of new housing - but the recession has made that difficult.
That left big areas of land lying empty. They became forlorn sanctuaries for weeds. The community wanted to bring them back into use as new community greenspaces.
The Community Alliance Trust (CAT) represents local people in the area. It was formed a couple of years ago by those involved in the Community Regeneration Forum, which has acted as the voice of the grassroots community for over 20 years.
The CAT worked with Oxfam Scotland and other partners - including PARC, Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace and the City of Edinburgh Council - to bring some of the derelict land back into use.
Money from Oxfam Unwrapped was used to plant around 1,000 trees as part of a larger project to transform the empty spaces into parkland for the community.
Pupils from Niddrie Mills and St Francis Primary Schools - which overlook the site - have also been involved in planting spring bulbs. They will be also able to use the new parkland for outdoor activities.
Terry Tweed, from the Community Alliance Trust, said: "There are a number of different groups planning to make use of the site now that it is safe and clear. The Kids on the Street Football groups have plans to train here and CAT also hopes to run events while plans are prepared for its future development."
The CAT is leading the community's vision for the new Craigmillar aiming to develop a much more dynamic role for local people in planning and constructing the future for residents.
It is spearheading two social enterprises aimed at providing much-needed services to local people - a thrift shop (The Green House) and a community hub and cafe (The White House)
Oxfam Unwrapped has funded trees for a local food growing project, and to establish a kitchen garden for the White House cafe which will provide healthy meals at affordable prices when it opens later this year.