In 2016 Springburn Parish Church were awarded a grant from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, Keep Scotland Beautiful. With the funds 12 raised beds, 2.4m long and 1.2m wide were made from railway sleepers and a patio was also constructed. Glasgow District Council donated five tons of compost to fill the beds. The raised beds were mostly placed on the patio, with the remainder situated round one side of the church. In addition, apple and plum trees were planted on the grassy slope which leads down from the church. Blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes were planted too. Last year blackcurrant jam and apple jelly was made to sell at the Trefoil Guild’s annual coffee morning. This year 10lbs of apples, 4lbs of plums and 9lbs of gooseberries were picked from the growing area. It has been a successful project involving people from the church and open to other groups beyond the church if they would like to take part.
Fullarton Connexions is the latest development of Fullarton Parish Church (Church of Scotland), originally built in 1838 as a Chapel of Ease to serve the growing harbourside population in Irvine. The buildings have been extensively renovated and remodelled to serve both the church and the wider community. Such has been the success of the project that the church decided to buy a triangular patch of woodland to the north of the site for a possible future phase of development, but in the meantime for use as a car-park extension.
A member of the church volunteers with the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), who are the lead agency for the Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network, working with landowners to try to create a pollinator-friendly corridor for 50 miles down the Ayrshire coast. The church and SWT agreed to work together on a habitat creation project. The land had been partially cleared and surfaced for the car park, leaving 3 banks of earth around the plot, which rapidly became colonised with nettles, brambles and sticky-willy. The earth banks looked ideal for development to include bee hotels to provide suitable habitat for solitary bees and other insects, habitat which is in short supply around our towns.
SWT volunteers cleared some of the more aggressive plants from the banking and constructed two bee/bug hotel structures, which were subsequently filled by children from the church. The materials used came from local SWT reserves and from the site. An inventory was taken of the flowering plants growing in the area, including some sown earlier. More wildflower seeds were collected from around the parish and sown on the banks and surrounding area, again by the children.
The project draws favourable comments and interest from church members and visitors alike. The remaining woodland has been used as an outdoor classroom and is regarded as an asset to the congregation and a contribution to the Nectar Network. We hope it will raise awareness of the need for wild habitat and provoke thought about our place in creation and our obligations to be responsible stewards of what God has entrusted to us.
Many thanks to Fullarton Parish Church, Irvine for the use of one of their halls as a venue for the zero waste workshops and the Big Climate Conversation on the 19th of September. We were well looked after by their staff and had a busy afternoon at our workshops.
Here are a couple of photos of everyone sharing their views during the big climate conversation.