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Castlebank Horticultural Centre: Discover Lanark Business Showcase

Castlebank Horticultural Centre

Growing enterprise - Castlebank Horticultural Centre innovates in trying times

Here in Lanark, Lanark Community Development Trust aspires to develop and deliver priority community projects which have a social, environmental or economic impact. One of the Trust's current principle projects is the management of Castlebank Horticultural Centre in Lanark, which operates as a social enterprise with generated income being reinvested in the running and development of the centre and its activities.

On 3rd November 2020, Castlebank Horticultural Centre was featured within Social Enterprise Scotland's Digital Showcase event. The Social Enterprise Digital Showcase is a chance for social enterprises and supporters of the sector to come together and hear from some of the individuals who were able to bring additional support to their local communities as the country was placed under lockdown restrictions.  

Castlebank Horticultural Centre has been developed by, and for, the local community over the last 10 years – with the final major renovations completing in winter 2018. The centre employs a full-time Educational Gardener, funded for 3 years by the National Lottery Community Fund. The remit of this post is to engage a diverse collective of the local community, everyone from nursery & school children to adults and seniors, in a variety of educational activities, training and green volunteering.

Melissa Reilly, Development Manager of Lanark Community Development Trust said:

"COVID-19 has had a massive impact on our organisation, mainly changing the way we work and engage with the community at Castlebank Horticultural Centre. The centre physically closed during lockdown, and our Educational Gardener took on the entire volunteer team’s jobs in maintaining the park’s gardens for the local community to enjoy."

"Many of our activities moved online and we were able to generate income through virtual workshops and by sourcing local funding (Lanark Rotary Club) to host a virtual Family Gardening and Nature Club over the 8 weeks of the summer holidays. We also generated income by launching a new ‘fresh produce boxes’ which we sold weekly from May – September featuring a fresh, seasonal variety of our home-grown organic fruit, vegetables and herbs."

"We tapped into COVID-specific funding to facilitate projects including providing our volunteers with ‘wellbeing and thank you’ goodie bags, and creating a virtual and printed community flower show booklet – 250 of which were gifted to local care home residents and isolated individuals."

"As lockdown eased, our volunteer sessions could resume socially distanced and at limited capacities. We also looked to generate more income by hosting Plant Sales at the centre and reopen our Classroom for room hires of small socially distanced meetings."

"The challenge now is to balance planning growth for the future, with a caveat of having a ‘covid plan b’ in place for the majority of activities so they can still go ahead virtually and income won’t be lost if lockdown happens again or restrictions change adversely." 

"To finish on a positive note, we have seen a massive opportunity for us to generate more income through sale of produce and plants and will be looking to capitalise on this next year through improvements to our growing compound. We have also seen the fantastic opportunity available to expand our reach through our virtual workshops and digital activities with no geographical boundaries. To date we have had virtual participants from around the UK, India, Dubai and our furthest yet is a group from California, USA!"

To register your interest in volunteering at Castlebank Horticultural Centre, or to find out more about room hires, please email info@lanarktrust.co.uk

You can stay up to date with the centre's latest news on Facebook.com/CastlebankPark and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter here.

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Name of business: Castlebank Horticultural Centre (Lanark Community Development Trust)

Address: Castlebank Horticultural Centre, St Patrick's Road, Lanark, ML11 9EG (Click here for directions on Google Maps)

Opening hours: Generally office hours are 9am - 4pm Monday to Friday. (Volunteer sessions Tuesdays and Thursdays)

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CastlebankPark

Contact telephone: 01555 728 329

Contact email: info@lanarktrust.co.uk

If you are interested in featuring your Lanark-based business, please contact the website on news@lanark.co.uk

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