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  • VIP Volunteering - Lord-Lieutenant of Fife visits Plant in Tayport

    Created: 11/06/2024
    News/Events Category: FVA News
    This item will show under the following categories: Volunteering  

    To mark Volunteers' Week, we ask a local public figure to get stuck in and give their time to a local voluntary organisation. This year, Lord-Lieutenant of Fife, Robert Balfour, signed up and visited Plant, the group that looks after Tayport Community Garden. 

    Robert took time to chat to Plant's volunteers and learn about how the organisation was created and what they do. 

    Plant was formed in 2011, and Tayport Community Garden opened to the public in 2014. Leasing the land - an old curling pond and pavilion - from Fife Council, they initially had one poly tunnel, a few raised beds, and three members of staff who helped to get the project off the ground. 

    Lord-Lieutenant of Fife (left) hearing about the plants in the polytunnel. 

    The garden grows fruit and vegetables and they sell their produce directly from the garden on Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays, and also welcome donations. Plant is part of Tayport Community Trust, and as a result, they supply produce to the community fridge at the Larick Centre in Tayport. 

    Plant is dependent on donations and selling produce, and the service is almost entirely volunteer-run now, although they have two employees who work on specific funded projects. One of those projects is Plant to Plate, funded by Fife Voluntary Action. The project encourages people to eat more cheaply, better, and more environmentally friendly. They run different events to taste different types of food.

    Aside from donations and selling produce, Plant have generated revenue by juicing apples and selling the juice. They collect apples from gardens across Tayport and juice them. In addition, Plant gave out over 300 fruit trees as they aim to ensure every garden in Tayport has a fruit tree. Over 1,000 people applied, so they plan to re-run this initiative in the future. 

    Plant now have around 30 volunteers with various roles, including gardening, visiting kids' groups, and seed-saving projects. The volunteers talked to the Lord-Lieutenant about the benefits of giving their time to the garden, saying they felt satisfaction in producing fruits and vegetables, they feel socially engaged, always learn new things, and above all else - they have fun. 

    The Lord-Lieutenant stated: "It’s incredibly important to raise the profile of Tayport Community Garden and volunteering. I’ve volunteered throughout my life. I was Chairperson of Fife Coastal Countryside Trust for 10 years, I was on the board at Elmwood College, and I work closely with cadets.

    "I know it’s said a lot, but it can’t be understated that the world wouldn’t work without volunteers.

    "40% of volunteers do it for their health and mental wellbeing, it gets people out of the house, in a different environment, and meeting new people. You can see the impact it has on volunteers here at Tayport Community Garden and the excellent work they’re doing for the local community."

    Some of Plant's volunteers with the Lord-Lieutenant

    It's not just the volunteers and Tayport residents who enjoy the garden - some local community groups make the most of it too. The group have primary and secondary school visits from North East Fife and Dundee, and they have some young volunteers who have signed up through the local primary school. Plant have also worked with Alzheimer Scotland for the past four years. A group of dementia patients and their carers have their own raised bed and grow produce, helping patients to socialise, improve wellbeing, and stimulate the senses and memory. Plant lovingly call this The A Team. 

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