Bridgend Farmhouse

07 October 2020

Bridgend Farmhouse in South Edinburgh is a community owned and run charitable organisation which bought and developed a once abandoned farmhouse and, through the community getting together, transformed it into a hub and learning centre for the surrounding  communities in Criagmillar Castle Park woodlands.

Since it started, the members of the local community have taken control of every aspect of the project, buying the building from the local council using community raised funds, and developing the hub entirely through volunteers’ hard work.

The project hosted regular Sunday activity sessions involving around 30 participants onsite working on a range of projects, all volunteering to create a welcoming space, learning new skills and developing the hub together. Activities involved cooking and preparing lunch, wood working, growing vegetables, fixing bikes and the building of an eco-bothy. There were also arts and crafts sessions run by a tutor, and painting and decorating with volunteers. A monthly volunteers' forum ensured all the volunteers were making decisions and driving what the project does.

A project member holding flowers grown at the farmhouse. Photograph credit: Eric Fernandez-Baca. 

Through the project, a supportive, vibrant and diverse community grew. People of all walks of life came together, regardless of life experiences, ethnicity, background or difficulties they faced. Project members worked together on shared goals and had authority as members who understood and contributed to every level of the project and became decision makers in their own community. People are now actively involved in what happens in their community and at the hub. The project has also led to many new ideas, initiatives, partnerships and friendships, and has nurtured an active community.

During the pandemic, Bridgend Farmhouse switched to providing emergency relief, from food and deliveries to friendly calls, activity packs, and new online groups to keep people connected. By the seventh week of the project’s emergency actions, they were delivering 1,000 emergency food parcels a day to local self-isolating residents and others who had been unable to access healthy, nutritious food. The project saw incredible examples of solidarity, care and compassion in their community during the crisis.

“Being at Bridgend Farmhouse lets me take better control of my mental health issues in an inclusive community that sets goals and achieves them.” Project member

 

 Bridgend Farmhouse were awarded £44,493 for ‘Bridgend Inspiring Growth’ project, which is funded through the Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery Scotland.

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2020 Annual Review. To read it in full, click here.

 

 

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