5 Awesome Community Projects
Featuring the Love Music Community Choir, Dig In, The Children's Wood, Punjabi Junction and The Concrete Garden
Smart thinking, collaboration and a determination to bring a great idea to life are behind these inspiring initiatives
The Community Choir: Love Music Community Choir
In these digitalised, distancing times, what better way is there to feel part of something human than by singing your heart out alongside like-minded souls? The rise of community choirs is evidence of this desire and Edinburgh boasts the biggest one in Britain. Since their formation in January 2013, the 300-strong Love Music Community Choir rehearse weekly at the Usher Hall, led by composer Stephen Deazley and jazz pianist Dave Milligan. At the end of each term, the choir puts on a concert on that prestigious stage and to date they’ve featured songs from the diverse likes of Nick Cave, Puccini and Irving Berlin. Most excitingly pop-up of all, Love Music have flashmobbed on the hall’s steps before gigs by Blondie and Rufus Wainwright. (Brian Donaldson)
The Community Greengrocer: Dig In
When a supermarket bought out Peckham’s shop unit, the people of Bruntsfield didn’t just protest, they got organised. Two hundred attended a public meeting about the takeover, and local shopkeeper Karen Mackay put together a team of volunteers with the aim of opening a community greengrocers, named Dig In, a short step from the interloper. A crowd-funding drive hit its £30,000 target in early April, and the shelves will be stocked with fresh fruit and veg – organically grown and seasonal where possible – by the end of the month. In the meantime they’ve been running veg bag trials and free soup Saturdays to tell people what they’re up to – postponed while the shop gets fitted out. (Hannah Ewan)
The Community Play Area: The Children's Wood
Described on their website as ‘the last wild space in the West End’, The Children’s Wood on North Kelvin Meadow in Glasgow aims to provide kids with a safe, natural place to play outdoors. It’s also a thriving cultural hub for the community – actor Tam Dean Burn and writer Sue Palmer are patrons, while past events have included storytelling sessions, film screenings, wine tastings and visits from Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead and Julia Donaldson. The Children’s Wood is currently under threat from housing development plans – find out more and sign their petition at their website. (Niki Boyle)
The Community Cafe: Punjabi Junction
Formerly known as Punjab'n De Rasoi, Punjabi Junction is a Leith-based Indian cafe serving up home-cooked style Sikh cuisine while simultaneously providing training, employment, social inclusion and support to local women from ethnic minority backgrounds. In addition to the food served on the premises, Punjabi Junction also offers cookery classes, free online recipes, outside catering, a speciality pickle and chutney deli and a special Friday lunchtime delivery service to offices in the capital. Oh, and while desserts are not typically a strong point in Indian cuisine, their gajrela – a gooey, sticky carrot cake – is divine. (Niki Boyle)
The Community Garden: The Concrete Garden
Four years ago an innovative growing initiative sprung up on a patch of industrial wasteland in north Glasgow. Despite the ground being contaminated and unsuitable for growing, the organisers behind the *1The Concrete Garden*2 managed to start a community growing project by planting fruit and veg in huge, moveable containers. The initiative now includes a mobile orchard, a chicken coop and plans for a pedal-powered compost sifter. With regular workshops, cookery courses, playgroups and social dinners also taking place The Concrete Garden is helping the local residents of Possilpark find empowering ways of accessing healthy food and building relationships. (Gail Tolley)
The Concrete Garden on Facebook
And here are a few more, suggested by our social media followers...
Balerno Village Screen.
Our H-Eat Well project in the Highlands!