Auchinleck Community Development Initiative (ACDI) are the driving force behind a community garden in the heart of a rural ex-coalfield village of Auchinleck after the group converted a vacant 2.5 acres brownfield site into a community garden.

Location: Auchinleck, East Ayrshire

After taking ownership of the site, ACDI have embarked on a turning the space into a community garden, taking on board the ideas of local residents and stakeholders to ensure the garden would benefit the whole community.

The group has successfully secured £500k in capital and revenue grant funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, Ayrshire LEADER and Tesco Bags for Help which developed and delivered a new-build learning centre, sensory garden, communal BBQ and play area and poly tunnel, as well as funding horticulture training posts.

From this success, ACDI embarked on a Business Mentoring programme with Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce to increase commercial income towards the continuity and sustainability of the community garden, as well as creating 12 new and additional employment opportunities for local disadvantaged residents.

The garden is a thriving space that has hosted over 25 community engagement and social events along with various other educational workshops with local schools.

ACDI have been awarded the Volunteer Friendly status, the first Third Sector group in East Ayrshire to achieve this. Over 1,000 local residents have visited the garden since its official opening and around 600 individuals have participated in social events and learning workshops.

Kaye Hannah, Garden Manager, said:

ACDI are absolutely thrilled to be nominated as a Groundwork Community Awards finalist. To be recognised by an independent external organisation provides great satisfaction and pride to our organisation, staff, volunteers and most of all, the community we serve.