This news story is now over a year old and information may no longer be accurate or up-to-date. It might also contain obsolete links.
Please use our search link on the left to look for more recent information.
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham heralded an outbreak of SLUGs in Fort William today (Tuesday 21 September) when she officially opened a unique community venture on the national forest estate.
With the support of a number of local organisations a group of Fort William residents – collectively known as Sunny Lochaber United Gardeners (SLUG) - has established 17 allotments on land at Cowhill, leased to them by Forestry Commission Scotland
Speaking at the event, Ms Cunningham highlighted the imagination and enthusiasm that brought the scheme into being.
Ms Cunningham said:
“Forestry Commission Scotland has a great deal of experience in getting local communities involved with their local woodlands, but this scheme – the first of its kind in Scotland – is a fantastic new way of letting local people benefit from the national forest estate.
“More and more people are being bitten by the gardening bug and are keen to start growing their own produce but in our towns and cities it’s not always easy to turn that enthusiasm into practical application.
“This project is the result of people taking an imaginative approach to a problem and coming up with a practical solution that really makes a difference to the community.
“I wish the SLUGs well and hope they have many years of successful harvests.”
As well as developing the infrastructure of the site the SLUGs aim turn the allotments into a focus for greater community involvement through a series of open days.
They also plan to hold training events where individuals, community groups and school children can come along and learn some rural and traditional gardening skills, while also getting the benefit of being active outdoors.
The group has had the help and support of a number of organisations in realising their dream, including Highland Council, local health professionals and a number of local community groups.
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate. The Commission’s woodlands make a difference to the well being of Scotland’s people and their communities. Local woodlands act as a catalyst for communities to meet up, get involved with projects and volunteering, or simply enjoy the many walking trails, bike rides and peace and quiet that forests and woodlands can offer. For more information on how Forestry Commission Scotland is delivering on its commitment to communities visit www.forestry.gov.uk/communitiesscotland
2) Established in 2007 the SLUG group has spent two years fundraising, planning and working with the Commission’s Lochaber team to realise their dream. The members have raised £73K funding through leader+, Awards for All, Climate Challenge Fund, Highland Council, Lochaber Environment Group and Forestry Commission Scotland. They also received in-kind support from volunteers.
3) Forestry Commission Scotland is participating in the Scottish Government review on allotment provision. Although the type of land, its location, and the potential conflict with the delivery of the Scottish Forestry Strategy means that the majority of the National Forest Estate is not suitable for the development of allotments, the Commission is in discussion with Highland, Argyll & Bute and Dumfries & Galloway Councils about potential sites in their areas.
4) Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office on 0131 314 6507 or 07785 527 590 on the day.