This week, the seed potatoes have been planted in specific wooden boxes with peat-free compost at outdoor learning areas within Shortroods and Ferguslie Park. The boxes were made and delivered by the Unpaid Work Team of Renfrewshire Council.

This project involves nurseries, primary schools, after school care groups and the disability resource centre.  This is supported by the Hugh Fraser Foundation, the Rozelle Trust, Renfrewshire Council, CAF Toule Foundation and Foundation Scotland.

The harvesting of the potatoes is due to take place by the end of June 2020. However, the growing of the potatoes is affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Some volunteers involved in supporting the project have had to self-isolate and will not be able to undertake any gardening activities. Several locations are subject to temporary closures and the potatoes may not receive regular watering apart from rainwater. A weekly diary of the potato growing will be recorded by the staff over the next 3 months.

In the last 12 months, the Spuds for Buddies project has been successful in working with local schools, two local nurseries, After School Care and community groups to improve awareness of healthy eating and gardening skills in the Paisley North area.

13052019 001                      View of potatoes growing at the Healthy Heart Garden

Between March – June 2019, the project established 47 raised beds built with the support of Renfrewshire Unpaid Work Team across the Shortroods area of Paisley. Within the Healthy Heart Garden and assisted by two volunteers, potatoes were planted by 49 school pupils (P6/P7). The potatoes were successfully harvested and taken by a pupil group for use in healthy eating cookery activities in the third week of June 2019. In addition, 21 pupils from Primary 1 grew potatoes in 11 boxes within their school grounds between March – June 2019. Local nurseries and After School Care were provided with support and resources including boxes, seed potatoes and compost to grow potatoes.

18022019 spuds for buddies bagsCotton bags for harvested potatoes made by Unpaid Work Team.

23062019 008Potatoes harvested from the raised boxes made by Unpaid Work Team.

This project is seeking to continue building the knowledge, skills and work experience to enable a wider group of children within the community to manage food growing using their own raised beds in 2020.

In 2019, a new raised bed was established for a growing site at Springbank Sheltered Housing.  The plants chosen by residents included Lavender, Hydrangea, Forsythia, Buddleia, Azalea, Heathers,  and Chives.  Additional herbs (Comfry, Echinhea, Chard, Oregano, Calendula) were provided for planting, with children in June 2019.

The main beneficiaries are older people over 50, living in sheltered housing and
children attending a local nursery, aged between 2-5 years old. The local residents living in the local neighbourhood gained access to an enhanced community growing space.

10082019 005View of the raised planters in August 2019.

Through volunteering and workshops, it has helped to break down barriers between residents of all ages within the Paisley North area through involvement in gardening activities. The project has enhanced skills, knowledge and experience of local people through participation in a local environmental project. It has helped to address health issues by providing resources which encourage active living and healthy eating.

Thanks to all the supporters of this project. This was possible with funding from Greggs Environment Grant and Action Earth Grant.

Edible Paisley

We’re rethinking access to local food, from the ground up. We’re are planning to grow fruit, herbs, vegetables and edible flowers in public and unused spaces across North Paisley for everyone to share. This year, the project will establish and care for 2 edible growing sites. This is funded by Greggs and Action Earth.

In the last three months, we have identified two locations for raised planters in the Shortroods area. Also, members of the unpaid work team of Renfrewshire Council have completed the building of two raised beds for the project.

Through consultation with residents of the Springbank Road Sheltered Housing, it was agreed one of the planters could be sited on a grassed area nearby. Residents identified their favourite plants to put in the planters including Heathers, Japonica, Forsythia, Deciduous Azalea, Lavender, Hydrangea, Buddleia and Chives.

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This planter was delivered and filled with soil by the Unpaid Work Team. It was planted by a resident from Springbank Road Sheltered Housing in May 2019.

In addition, further to discussion with staff of the Love Street Medical Centre, it was agreed to locate the second planter in an open space next to their car park. A survey was issued for patients to provide their suggestions for plants and the list of suggestions received included Pansies, Lavender, anything blue, and a tree in the middle.

22052019 014

This planter was also delivered and filled with soil by the Unpaid Work Team with support from the Disability Resource Centre. It was planted by a volunteer and a staff member in May 2019.

We are recruiting volunteers interested in supporting development of this project. Community involvement will be supported with people taking part in the project workshops and community events. This aims to support educational activities and information about food growing and caring for the environment. These sites will raise awareness and build community around the shared tasks of cultivation of trees, shrubs and edible plants.

As part of the Spuds for Buddies Project, we have supported children in the planting of seed potatoes in various boxes at the Healthy Heart Garden in the Disability Resource Centre, Mossvale Primary, Mossvale Nursery, Rainbow Nursery and Shortroods After School Care.


We work with children to teach them where food comes from and how to care for their local environment. A wider aspect of the project activity is the benefit it will provide for people on community payback orders by providing meaningful work as they make the boxes for growing the potatoes. It seeks to reduce vandalism, making the area more attractive for people moving in to newly built homes and promotes maintenance of local greenspaces for use by all ages.


In the last week, pupils have harvested the boxes of potatoes and they were taken home for eating in specially designed cotton bags. The project has been possible as we planted Home Guard Early Potatoes.

2506018 019.JPGMany thanks to everyone at the Healthy Heart Garden and Disability Resource Centre for supporting the potato growing over the last 4 months. John is pictured with harvested potatoes from a box.

Hedge planting

06052018 004Woodland Trust Free Tree Packs containing more than 300 saplings were donated to Rainbow Community Nursery. These were planted to create a hedge along the perimeter fence of the nursery grounds, enhancing the outdoor learning environment for the children. For more details about the free tree packs, please go to: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/packs/