Health & Inequalities Gardens

ELGT has recieved funding from the Health & Inequalities Standing Group to provide community gardening in areas of disadvantage to enable an improvement in health and wellbeing.

There is now significant evidence that community gardening benefits social cohesion as well as improved physical and mental health. 

A list of potential locations is deteremined through consulation with various groups. The process involves consultation and workshop sessions for the design and planting of the community gardens which have benefited the health and wellbeing of participants. Some of the projects include:

Teens Plus

Teensplus is a project based in Gilmerton that supports young adults with learning disabilities to engage with a number of different activities and learning opportunities. 

A group of 14 students from the project are currently taking part in the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society's "Grow & Learn Award" are involved with developing the garden. ELGT has done some work this year to provide taster sessions for some of the students in the garden at Gilmerton Community Centre, and we are now working with Teensplus to develop the garden at their base in Ravenscroft Street.

Pilton Equalities Partnership

PEP provides essential services for older and other vulnerable adults in North Edinburgh, supporting Mental Health; Community Transport and Lifelong Learning in order to enhance their quality of life by continuing to develop services that enable active community participation, which encourage independence and which measurably reduce isolation.

PEP’s sensory garden at the rear of the office had always been a favourite spot for people to sit out and enjoy. However, over the years the garden had become more and wilder, with large plants taking over and ivy covering half of the area!

Following an initial consultation with 8 service users and PEP staff, ELGT created a draft plan for a new garden where they could enjoy growing their own fruit, herbs and vegetables. Following two further consultation exercises, a final plan was created as well as an outline of where and what would be best to plant. New paths and growing areas have now been completed which include new raised planters and a folding potting table.

With the help of service users, three pallet planters have now been constructed and a program of planting sessions arranged for the start of the growing sessions to ensure that all service users are engaged with their new garden.


Whinpark Community Garden is based in Broomhouse as part of the Whinpark Medical Practice which offers a wide range of clinics to their patients as well as running a community room which is accessed by a number of local groups and services.  ELGT consulted with the staff from the practice as well as people from the local groups and services to make plans for the garden and a programme of workshops to encourage local people to make use of their outdoor space.   42 community members were involved in the consultation process to ensure we were providing a space that would be useful to everyone.

It was decided the area should be fenced off to make it safer for kids, keep dogs out and make it look more inviting to use as a place to enjoy for gardening or even just sitting in.  The garden construction started in March and is now complete with planting underway which includes fruit, vegetables and herbs as well as a selection of plants to create a fantastic sensory space.     



The Canalside Centre is in Wester Hailes and provides a day care service for approximately 40 older adults across the week, many of whom have dementia. ELGT worked with service users and staff from the centre in 2016 to deliver a series of dementia-friendly walks. The success of the walking programme led to discussions about continuing to encourage service users to use outdoor spaces. The centre is next to the Union Canal and has an area of ground that was suitable to make into a community garden.

We consulted with staff and stakeholders at the centre to plan the delivery of the programme, and had assistance from a team of corporate volunteers to clear the site. During the autumn and winter of 2016, we held consultation sessions with 10 service users and staff to decide on the design for the garden and what they would like to plant. We looked at pictures and examples from other similar gardens, and drew ideas and suggestions on a plan. These were then displayed at the centre, and added to when people had more ideas.

Since the area was sloped, it needed to be levelled, and care was taken in the design to make sure that the garden is wheelchair-accessible and that the beds can also be used by people in wheelchairs.

The garden was constructed in February, and since then we have run three growing sessions with an average 10 of participants at each session to plant out seeds that will be used in the garden. The area has been transformed from a derelict patch of ground to a garden that has a view of the canal and that people will enjoy sitting in and growing food and flowers.

Madelvic Square

Through the creation of a new roof terrace at Madelvic Square facility which is run by Cairns Housing association there was a desire to create a roof garden. An innovated garden was designed in Spring 2016 with the input from the residents who decided what would be planted.The garden was then constructed with the help residents that were able. The residents picked the crop later which was then used in the kitchen. The residents have found that it is a great place to socialise and have used the area for other activities. There are 2 residents who have taken a particular interest in the gardening which includes watering almost every day as it can get dry quickly.  The garden has been well received with other groups who visit the facility.



The Royal Edinburgh Hospital

The community sensory garden was to designed to aid treatment for patients and to improve the appearance of the grounds. The consolation sessions started in March 2016 to develop a community garden with the Edinburgh Cyrenians , volunteers and patients. The location and design was determined along with what would be planted. 

The patients find that it has become a great area to run theraphy sessions as it is calming. The visitors and volunteers also find it a nice place to sit.