A community-owned garden and cafe in Aberdeen has transformed an overgrown patch of grass into a vibrant and welcoming space for the community. The Bonnymuir Green Community Trust, which runs the garden and cafe, is now looking for more volunteers to help keep its services open to the public.
The garden and cafe, which is located on the site of the former Bonnymuir Green Bowling Club, offers regular social and educational events for locals, such as yoga, art exhibitions, and gardening workshops. The Trust also grows vegetables and flowers, and sells homemade food and drinks.
The story behind Bonnymuir Green
The Bonnymuir Green Community Trust was established in 2017, after a group of residents campaigned to save the bowling club from being sold to developers. The Trust managed to buy the site with the help of crowdfunding and grants, and turned it into a community asset.
The Trust’s Jen Hickling said: “Bonnymuir Green is all about providing a safe inclusive, fun, beautiful place for people to gather. Looking back at photographs of the green from five years ago it’s hard to imagine it was just a rectangle of overgrown grass. Everything you can see in the garden has been put in place by volunteers in that time.”
The benefits of Bonnymuir Green
Bonnymuir Green has become a popular destination for locals and visitors alike, attracting more than 21,000 visitors annually. The garden and cafe provide a range of benefits for the community, such as:
- Improving physical and mental health by offering outdoor activities and social interaction
- Enhancing environmental awareness and sustainability by promoting organic gardening and composting
- Supporting local economy and culture by sourcing local ingredients and showcasing local artists
- Fostering community spirit and cohesion by involving people of all ages and backgrounds
The challenges of Bonnymuir Green
Despite its success, Bonnymuir Green faces some challenges to maintain its operations and services. The Trust relies on around 6,000 hours of volunteer support per year, which is not always easy to find. The Trust also needs to cover its running costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, and maintenance.
Jen said: “We have a pool of about 100 people that volunteer in some way, but we love to have new people coming help us out – whether that’s front of house, serving customers, or behind the scenes in the kitchen.”
How to get involved with Bonnymuir Green
Bonnymuir Green welcomes anyone who wants to get involved with its activities and events. There are various ways to support the Trust, such as:
- Becoming a member of the Trust for £10 per year
- Volunteering at the garden or cafe
- Donating money or materials
- Attending or hosting an event at the green
- Spreading the word about Bonnymuir Green
For more information, visit the Trust’s website or Facebook page.
What’s next for Bonnymuir Green?
Bonnymuir Green has ambitious plans for the future, such as expanding its garden area, installing solar panels, building a greenhouse, and creating a sensory garden. The Trust also hopes to collaborate with other community groups and organizations in Aberdeen.
Jen said: “We want to make Bonnymuir Green even more accessible and inclusive for everyone. We have so many ideas and projects that we want to do, but we need more help and support to make them happen.”
Will Bonnymuir Green achieve its goals? Only time will tell.