Turning an abandoned park area and its gardens into a community hub to create opportunities for social interaction, training and employment.
Castlebank Park is located in the South West of Lanark in Scotland and is a former hunting ground of Lanark Castle. Despite its convenient location and potential for development, it was a derelict and unusable patch of land for many years. The ‘Castlebank Regeneration’ project commenced in 2012, developing a community growing area in the park, funded by the UK Government's Climate Challenge Fund and LEADER.
In a second phase and also funded by LEADER, the project supported the renovation of a derelict sawmill building within the Horticultural Centre compound; transforming it into a dedicated community learning and meeting space. The project promoter is the Lanark Community Development Trust.
Over 600 people participated in courses and workshops held at the Castlebank Horticultural Centre.
Around 2,390 volunteer hours were recorded during the first year of operation, in 2018.
The project engaged with vulnerable adults, some of whom are now regular and enthusiastic volunteers. These include local people with mental health issues and learning disabilities, a local parent and toddlers group and a small group of pupils from Lanark Grammar School’s severe learning disabilities unit.
The centre has developed a mini orchard, engaged in composting schemes and delivered workshops on locally produced food.
All food produce grown in the polytunnels and raised beds are donated to the local food bank.