• Soil, Seed and Soul

    4 October 2023

    Connecting nature and community to promote sense of belonging in Newington.

    Thanh-Lan Gluckman, Southside Community Centre

    For more information about our work, visit: Southside Community Centre's website

    Southside Community Centre is located in the Newington area of Edinburgh and is a hub for creativity, community engagement, cultural exchange and lifelong learning.

    The Centre is funded under the Communities and Place strand of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The theme of Communities and Place enables places to invest in restoring their community spaces and relationships and create the foundations for economic development at the neighbourhood level.

    In Southside, the funding is supporting the clearing and replanting of an overgrown garden at the front of the Southside Community Centre, as well as enabling practical volunteering opportunities and skills development for local community groups.

    Equality, diversity, and inclusion are at the heart of everything that Southside does. The Centre strives to create an environment where every individual feels safe, valued, and respected.

    BSL and Deaf Awareness Course

    The Centre has been running a free introductory BSL and Deaf Awareness course within their newly renovated garden, led and created by the deaf community.

    The idea of the sessions came through a discussion with local Masters of Education student Tania Allan on how to support the deaf community, where she shared that deaf people would like more non-deaf people to speak their language.

    The project has encouraged people from all walks of life to join in and has a range of participants from LGBTQI+ and ethnic minority communities.

    Through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund funding, the project was able to employ Tania to create and run the sessions with the support of four trainee BSL interpreters.

    Participants learning BSL at Southside Community Centre

    Southside Soil, Seed and Soul Community Outreach

    Southside Soil, Seed and Soul have also been running a community outreach programme involving art and nature exploration sessions and tree trails in Holyrood Park’s “Wells o’ Wearie” woodland.

    The aim of the foraging workshops is to bring the community together to enjoy the nature that is right on their doorstep. Participants can learn about the plants growing within the area with support from a local foraging expert and through spending this time together, are enabled to build up social connections amongst the group.

    Adapted sessions invite those with mobility issues to attend.

    The development of the garden space has also enhanced the area as a social space for staff, volunteers, and others from the local community. The space and the activities support the idea that participation in creative, cultural, and social events create a sense of belonging and enhances social cohesion.

    One of the participants said: “The garden is now so bright and colourful. I’m looking forward to seeing the revival of the trees after late winter pruning. It’s now very well kept – the flowers are bright and lovely and there are no longer any weeds. Really it makes a massive difference to the front of the building. It will be good to know that flowers will continued to be planted across the seasons so that we are never without colour and new growth. Lovely hanging baskets too with ivy and pansies.”

    Jessie Colligan, UK Shared Prosperity Fund Programme Administrator, Capital City Partnership

    For more information on Edinburgh's UK Shared Prosperity Fund projects, visit the Edinburgh UKSPF website


    Want to know more about UKSPF funded Edinburgh projects? Visit our UKSPF webpage.

    Don't miss an update, subscribe to our blog!