Glasshouse, Baillister, Tingwall – A Community Growing Enterprise?
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Photo by courtesy of ‘Good for Ewe’
Transition Shetland’s constituted aims are to raise awareness within Shetland of the challenges of peak oil, resource depletion and climate change and the consequent need for change by working with others in Shetland and beyond to develop a low carbon, sustainable and resilient future for the islands and to support people and organisations in their efforts to prepare for such a future.
To this end Transition Shetland (TS) was made aware that Tingwall & Girlsta Development Association has had an interest in the redundant glasshouse in Tingwall that has lain idle for some years and should, if at all possible, be put back into use for growing food. The prime interest is the use of the building by the community for growing on a domestic scale, and could help produce food to satisfy local demand for growing space. TS is interested in the proposal as it has the potential to increase awareness in growing food locally, thereby substantially reducing the reliance on food imported from UK mainland and beyond. Therefore TS wishes to examine the feasibility of establishing a community growing area and determining its ultimate sustainability and contribution to the development of the island economy within its objectives.
To take the project forward the community has to examine the idea in great detail and establish whether, and if so how, it could be made to work. A satisfactory conclusion would allow TS to seek the appropriate funding to deliver the project.
It is important to TS that whilst being financially sustainable the glasshouse would also function for community good and be acceptable to the individual members and community organisations that might take an active role in this enterprise. Such community groups might include those already engaged in providing work experience or work programmes for their clients, youth volunteering groups, befriending schemes, schools, groups working with the disadvantaged etc.
It is envisaged that the feasibility study will result in outputs that include a mandate from the community to proceed with the project, a funding feasibility analysis and a business plan for the first three years. Establishing links and support with influential organisations and potential funders, and a potential client base for therapeutic/educational use, establishing a base of local membership with whom they would draw up a development plan, incorporating a proposal for the layout and management of the glasshouse, including areas for individual, group, commercial, educational and therapeutic use constitute a major part of the plan.
It is important that the viability of this proposal is established as early as possible, and TS have been fortunate to be awarded a grant from the Lottery Fund towards the cost of the feasibility study.