Arran Community Land Initiative
Arran Community Land Initiative set up as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation in 2013 and bought an 80 acre site of disused farmland for the community to use for the purposes of education, recreation and sport with a grant from the Scottish Land Fund. This acquisition happened after a public consultation using a Community Engagement Officer who found out that the most popular choice of activity for the site was a recreation and gardening space. The site now boasts 12 community allotments, a community garden with orchard, two large polytunnels, an apiary run by the Arran Bee Group, larger crop growing areas, grazing lets for local pony owners, a compass course for teaching map reading skills, an endangered Arran Whitebeam tree plantation and walking paths. For the past two years, there have been twice-weekly visits by local primary and high schools and North Ayrshire Schools via the Arran Outdoor Education Centre, and the children have helped to start planting up different areas of the site. There are now many users with regular dog walkers, runners, mountain bikers, school and outdoor centre groups, Duke of Edinburgh participants, volunteer gardeners and allotment holders. The aim for this year is to build on recent successes, in particular, educating children about where their food comes from and healthy eating options. They have a strong team of trustees and gardeners with considerable charity and business acumen who have a passion to further the aims of the project, in particular, providing further horticultural and outdoor skills training for all ages. The proudest achievement of the Arran Community Land Initiative is getting an infrastructure designed and put in place which includes a hub building, composting toilet and polytunnels. Without these, it would have been hard to accommodate year-round learners and visitors to the site.