Sight Scotland Veterans has joined forces with Cyrenians to transform the Walled Garden at its Linburn Centre in West Lothian into a therapy hub which can be used by veterans, families, and the local community.
Homeless charity, Cyrenians, is taking the lead on this project which is being run by its Garden and Volunteer Wellbeing Coordinator, Laura Mulcahy.
This historic Walled Garden dates back to the 1800s and is situated in the grounds of Sight Scotland Veterans’ Linburn Centre in Wilkieston. The Linburn Centre is an activity hub for ex-servicemen and women with sight loss. With a variety of activities and outings and set in beautiful grounds, the centre offers the means and support to adapt to life with sight loss, with many of veterans who attend the centre saying the things they do there and the connections they’ve made have transformed their lives.
The Linburn Walled Garden is an ideal place to develop a safe and welcoming space for growing crops and for growing people, including a range of wellbeing activities for veterans, families, and the wider community. Together we’re working to create a place that offers a blended balance of practical horticultural skills, such as sowing, growing, harvesting, and cooking, as well as a space where veterans and their families can come together to build, and re-build relationships, enjoy stress-free time in the outdoors, and improve their mental wellbeing.
We are delighted with how the garden is taking shape, and we are so grateful to all our volunteers who have helped as we could not do this without them. We still have lots more to do, and we need to improve the accessibility and pathways so the veterans can use it on a regular basis. Ultimately our vision is for the Walled Garden to be a therapy hub where veterans can come and enjoy the fresh air and build confidence and improve mental health. It will hopefully be an enjoyable space and a hive of activities for the veteran community.
We are delighted to be partnering with Cyrenians on the Walled Garden project, and it is amazing to see how the garden has been transformed. It is going to make a huge difference to our veterans when it is finished and they start using it regularly, we have a few gardeners already but hopefully the Walled Garden will inspire many more to give it a go. Gardening is so good for exercise, building friendships and improving mental health.
The partnership for our Walled Garden at Linburn is such a fantastic example of what can be achieved if charities work together. Working with Cyrenians on this project has been an absolute pleasure, it has been wonderful working with likeminded people.
Lorraine Bruce is Hub Coordinator for Sight Scotland Veterans. In her role she is responsible for fostering partnerships with other organisations and community groups. She also supports both Sight Scotland Veterans activity hubs in Hawkhead and Linburn. Lorraine has worked with Sight Scotland veterans since 2017.
Sight Scotland Veterans, formerly known as Scottish War Blinded, is the sister charity of Sight Scotland. Sight Scotland Veterans provides free support to armed forces veterans affected by sight loss in Scotland to help them regain confidence, restore their independence and make new connections. For more information visit sightscotlandveterans.org.uk