Members of Bridgend Farmhouse's 'Bridgend Inspiring Growth' project

When people have control over their lives and decisions that affect them, they are able to improve and maintain their health. Collective control is power exercised by groups of people, and this group power also affects health.

Achieving collective control is central to People’s Health Trust’s funding programmes; we support people to take control of decisions that affect them locally. Bridgend Farmhouse in South Edinburgh is a community owned and run charitable organisation which developed a once abandoned Farmhouse as a hub and learning centre for the communities which surround the Farmhouse in Criagmillar Castle Park woodlands. Through the Active Communities programme, the Trust has supported the Farmhouse to create stronger links between residents and further develop collective control.

Through the project, a regular Sunday activity session involves around 30 participants on site working on a range of projects all volunteering to create a welcoming space learning new skills and developing this hub together. There are volunteers cooking and preparing lunch, wood working, growing vegetables, fixing bikes and building of an eco-bothy. There are also arts and crafts sessions run by a tutor, and painting and decorating with volunteers. A monthly volunteers' Forum ensures all the volunteers are making decisions and driving what the project does.

Will Golding, Trustee and volunteer, said, “People's Health Trust has been a fantastic funder and supporter of the work at Bridgend Farmhouse. It is refreshing to come across a funder that understands and supports how communities coming together on a regular basis to develop their own projects and activities can improve health and well-being, and create stronger, diverse and more democratic communities and organisations.

“Through the project, a supportive, vibrant and diverse community has grown. People of all walks of life come together and regardless of life experiences, ethnicity, background and difficulties they are currently experiencing, they can work together on a shared goal, and have agency as an active member and decision maker in this community. The project has led to many new ideas, initiatives, partnerships and friendships and has nurtured an active community.”

One member said, “Bridgend Farmhouse has made such a massive difference to my life. It has given me good company, a feeling of belonging, a place to feel relaxed and, having never done any arts and crafts in my life before, I have now learned so many creative skills. It’s somewhere I can go and feel welcome, see friendly faces, feel safe and relaxed and have creative projects to work on and skills to focus on learning.”

Will continued, “This project over the past two years has been transformational in building this community at Bridgend, and ensuring the volunteers and participants have the means and mechanisms to lead on the projects themselves. They are now active agents in what happens in their community and at this hub. “

The project has been funded by the Trust with money raised through Health Lottery Scotland.

To read more news on the Trust, click here.

Support us, play The Health Lottery!