From Sewage Works to Wild Flower Haven

Water Works, Barrhead
Water Works, Barrhead

Big Lottery Fund, Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn attended this morning’s launch of Scotland’s flagship Grow Wild site.

The Water Works project in Barrhead sees the regeneration of abandoned sewage works into a park and gardens for community use. Today’s unveiling was a chance for all those involved to see how far the project has come in such a short space of time.

The Big Lottery Fund awarded the Water Works project £120,000 to transform the site into an industrial wildlife area. It’s brought the whole community together as over 200 people, led by East Renfrewshire Council, have worked tirelessly for the last six months to clear the site of rubbish and rubble that filled over 6,000 bin bags.

First year pupils from Barrhead High School helped clean up the area and create a poly tunnel with seed trays. Members of Dunterlie Youth Group, and Barrhead Cubs and Scouts, Brownies and Young Mums got involved with planting. The huge sewage tanks are being used as experimental wild flower planters, making them Scotland’s largest flower pots.

So it’s certainly been a labour of love by local residents but the project is also supported by the rest of the country. In October 2013 it was one of four sites in Scotland that went head to head in a public vote for a Grow Wild award which the Water Works won to become Scotland’s flagship Grow Wild project.

Claire Bennett, Grow Wild; Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund; Mark Brand, East Renfrewshire Council
Claire Bennett, Grow Wild; Maureen McGinn, Big Lottery Fund; Mark Brand, East Renfrewshire Council

The Big Lottery Fund has invested £10.5 million in the Grow Wild campaign as part of our mission to bring real improvements to the lives of local people. The Water Works is part of a major investment to regenerate the north of Barrhead. The sewage works lay derelict for 30 years and its re-birth as gardens will form the centre piece of a green network beside the Levern River connecting Barrhead to Glasgow and attracting new business.

As well as highlighting what can be achieved when local people come together to improve their environment, today’s event also brought together many other community projects from across Scotland who have been funded through Grow Wild. Led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and in partnership with greenspace scotland and Youth Scotland, Grow Wild aims to unite people in their enjoyment of the natural environment and inspire the transformation of unloved urban spaces into wildlife friendly, wild flower havens.

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