In November, we received permission to use a garden space in Elder Park, to build up our existing work in Govan. The garden was overgrown with brambles and undergrowth, and had lots of rubbish that needed disposed of. In order for the Child and Family Centre to be able to use the space in the summer, a big clear-up job needed to happen. A work party completed this big clear up in two days last week, Thursday 24 and Friday 25 February. On Thursday morning, despite the snow, our staff members Margaret, Fiona and Adam with some international guests helped to clean up. Adam says, “Thursday was a great day. One of our guests finds it difficult to leave the house and has few positive relationships. The simple joy that came from being productive and achieving something tangible as part of a team was invaluable. Another guest is waiting on the outcome of his asylum claim and is currently not allowed to work, despite being keen to do so. For many people in this position, the opportunity to volunteer (even in the most horrendous Glasgow stormy weather!) is hugely important for mental health and wellbeing. It was great to get our sleeves rolled up, and all be in it together – Child and Family Centre staff, City Centre staff, Management staff and City Mission Guests!”
On Friday morning, a few parents of children from the nursery volunteered with Margaret and Fiona. Having the parents be part of the work party gives them a sense of ownership of the place that will soon be a space for their children to learn and play.
Fiona, who works at the Child and Family Centre, says, “Being here will be like the children having a garden, they can run about, climb a tree, and see what they are learning about how plants grow. One of our Mum’s recently told me she had been doing a bit of gardening and I asked ‘How?’ I know she lives in a flat, but she has been window gardening with her window boxes. Most of our families live in flats, so this will be amazing, like their own accessible play area.”
When the weather is warmer and a gate and fence have been added for safety, the space will add to the ways Elder Park is already part of the life of Child and Family Centre. Every day the children walk around the Elder Park mile, and many family holiday clubs have taken place here over the years.
We will also add a small shipping container, so we can safely store our play equipment there. Margaret pointed to some tall, straight trees in the corner saying, “Do we know anyone who can build a treehouse? That would be such a good place for a treehouse.” We can all see the potential of the space, to help more families in Govan spend time outside learning to flourish.