Nursing student and incoming School of Nursing and Health Sciences President Brian Webster on creating a community garden in Fintry

So many of us enjoy the outdoors. According to Greenspace Scotland, 162 million visits are made to greenspaces such as parks, woodlands and gardens every year. As an adult nursing student at the University, I am well aware of the health benefits of greenspace and gardening.

The greenspace itself has benefits. Here’s Greenspace Scotland’s list of these:

Greenspaces are:

  • breathing spaces – oases of calm amidst city bustle, space to unwind
  • healthy spaces – inviting places which encourage us to get active
  • living spaces – attractive spaces on our doorsteps
  • meeting spaces – communal places encouraging communities to come together
  • play spaces – safe places where children can adventure, explore and imagine
  • working spaces – attractive places where people want to live and work
  • learning spaces – natural grounds for lifelong learning
  • wild spaces – informal places that welcome nature back to our cities
  • celebration spaces – gathering places where people come together for events and activities
  • creative spaces – inspirational places encouraging creativity in an outdoor setting
  • growing spaces – productive places that nourish and sustain communities and individuals

In Dundee, people can now be prescribed “Green Prescriptions” thanks to an initiative by the Dundee Green Health Partnership, which was launched at the University Botanic Garden in April. The Partnership is a collaboration between NHS Tayside, Dundee City Council, the voluntary sector, University of Dundee, Abertay University and local community groups to connect people and green spaces to deliver health benefits.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing said at the launch, “There is no doubt that there is a strong connection between green space and good mental and physical health. Parks, woodlands and open spaces make a real difference to how happy we feel. They also improve our immune system and encourage physical activity and social interaction.”

With all this in mind I have been setting up a community garden in Fintry in Dundee. Gardens, and in particular, community gardens, have additional social and educational benefits. A Greenspace Scotland survey on growing food found that of all respondents who had never grown their own food, over half would like to.

Our Fintry Community Garden is in the very first stages but early successes have been very encouraging. We have installed some pilot raised beds, which we planted up with the help of the local primary school and a local private nursery. It was a great turnout and we had a huge amount of support on the day, with Scotmid supporting us by providing health refreshments for the kids. Our vegetables have thrived, with lettuce, carrots and parsley doing particularly well.

We have just become a constituted group and have made come great connections and hope to expand on this. We are looking for volunteers who would be willing to assist in the short or long term in getting the garden well established. No experience is necessary, as all current volunteers are from all different backgrounds, with each bringing their own set of skills and experiences. We are also looking for further collaborations, so if you feel your department or School could assist us in any way, please let us know.

If you would like to get involved, please email: fintrycommunitygarden@outlook.com.

More information on Fintry Community Garden is on our Facebook page and our website.

Follow the links for further information on:

Greenspace Scotland

The Dundee Green Health Partnership

Research and evidence on the benefits of community growing