It was a great pleasure to see so many plotters, volunteers and friends turn out for our first Community Sunday in such a long time. Thanks go to all who found the time to come along and help out on the day. We counted well north of twenty helpers.
Of course, it was not all coffee and cake and much work was completed around the site before the serious business of catching up with old and new friends began. I don’t think our site has ever looked better.
Thanks too go to Ron for his efforts selling our new range of planters, built by our volunteers. Sales and orders on the day netted over £50 for Association funds. A great effort all round. Further details of the planters available can be found in our new Online Catalogue. We are still accepting orders and some items are still in stock.
All in all we had a wonderful day and warm thanks go to everyone who helped get the new season of Community Sundays off to such a great start.
We got a wee reminder this week of just how splendid the South Bank looks at its best whatever the season.
From its early beginnings remembering especially the work put in by Michael (Plot 88) to get it established, it was super to see our current Volunteers working so hard to get it into shape for the summer ahead.
Apologies to all those who helped and who’s photos I missed.
GFAA recently submitted a proposal to Aberdeen City Council for a project to enhance the biodiversity of our site. I am delighted to say that ACC have enthusiastically encouraged us to go ahead. Read on for more details.
Background We propose to develop the under-used area positioned in the North-West corner of our site to create a wildlife-friendly habitat which will enhance the biodiversity of the local area. The area chosen was created when the contractors constructing the Pitfoddel’s Station Road pedestrian track and cycleway deposited waste materials (mainly rock and sub-soil) in the corner of our site. The resulting raised area (which we have named, “The Mound” is unsuitable for vegetable cultivation and has remained unused for many years.
Features The development will include some of the features listed below, the exact number will be dependent on the availability of space and suitable locations. (Where features cannot be incorporated into The Mound suitable alternative locations on the Garthdee Field site will be sought. • Native flowers and shrubs • Log piles • Bug hotels • A wildlife pond • A wildflower area • Nest boxes • Bat boxes • Hedgehog huts • Squirrel feeders • Bumble bee nest boxes.
Benefits Projects to encourage biodiversity were recommended in our recent Green Flag Assessment and this development will strengthen future Green Flag applications. The creation of a larger habitat will enable greater variety of species to utilise the area than would be possible in the fragmented small-scale areas developed by individual plot holders. The habitat created will provide a valuable learning setting for visiting primary pupils and youth groups. The intended features will be attractive and beneficial to pollinators, birds, amphibians, hedgehogs, insects, bats and many other species. Development and maintenance of the mound will deliver engagement opportunities working with nature over a wide range of skill sets for members of site’s volunteer group. Creation of The Mound and its subsequent population by wildlife may act as a stimulus to other plotters to develop areas within their own plots thereby increasing the overall habitat availability on the site.
Management The Mound Project will be led by Steve Jennings, the GFAA Committee Member charged with responsibility to lead and coordinate our efforts to enhance the biodiversity of our site. In the first instance we will fund work from our GFAA income and reserves, but we may seek external funding in the future.
Maintenance The area will be maintained by our resident Volunteer Squad and/or interested plotters as coordinated by Steve Jennings.
Health and Safety The area is already fenced on 3 sides and a new fence and gate will be constructed to manage public access. Visits by external groups will be supervised by a member of the GFAA Committee. All works will be completed in accordance with Aberdeen City Council’s policies and procedures and in alignment with GFAA’s Volunteers’ Health and Safety Policy.
Visits by external groups will be risk assessed and monitored.
Steve Jennings will be delighted to receive ideas for development or offers of help, or to provide further information on the project as it progresses.
We had a great day at the site today with our Volunteer Squad in fine form. Doug (himself a volunteer) led an effort to rebuild a plot fence, while Steve (Plot 72) with volunteers Mike, Jack and Jordi were building a path to give access to our new wildlife patch up on the Mound at the Northwest corner. Meanwhile I had the pleasure of watching Gordon Bennett showing off his woodworking skills building a raised wheelchair-friendly veggie bed.
The final group of Irene, Veronica and Karolina worked in the Community Garden trimming, weeding and planting up. Irene puts in a power of work each time she comes on site and has led many of our successful new developments.
We are very lucky to have the help of so many dedicated volunteers, but in some ways we are victims of our own success. We often have ten or a dozen helpers on site at a time and we really need more plotters involved in leading the small work parties.
If you could host a group of two or three volunteers working on your plot, or lead them in a community activity on the wider site on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday from time to time it would be a great help.
If you think you would be able to help please speak to me, Anne, Steve or Stuart in the first instance.