Territorial Army helps Leuchars build Junction Gardens
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
An army of volunteers has marched on waste land to give it a new lease of life.
The first phase of this community initiative was completed in September with a path laid, sitting areas built, trees planted and park area cleared.
This community-focused and local-led project has been a collective effort of Leuchars Community Council, 71 Engineer Regiment who are a Territorial Army unit based at RAF Leuchars, local volunteers from the RAF Conservation Group, Leuchars Primary School, Leuchars Youth Club and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust.
The venture was first thrown into gear when local community members put forward proposals for a publically accessible, quiet woodland park in Leuchars which would give an alternative path leading from the village centre to the railway station.
On the back of these proposals, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust drew up plans for the conversion of a waste ground area owned by Fife Council into the green common, now called Junction Gardens, and pathway.
71 Engineer Regiment at RAF Leuchars was then approached in May to view the intended path area and assess if they could help develop it. Diving right in, the Regiment delivered a fully accessible, well-built path as well as benches, a level crossing and mock bumpers.
The many hours of labour intensive and machine-based work gave the 71 Engineer Regiment a great opportunity to give back to the community and keep up their training, under the expert guidance of Warrant Officer Class 2 Gareth Clark.
This community-led project has been managed throughout by members of Leuchars Community Council, with guidance and ongoing planning from Ranald Strachan, a member of the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust’s Ranger service.
The project’s next stage will include the planting of another 200-300 trees and source funding and support for additional improvements, like mock platforms as play areas for local children. Further ideas for this phase are being sought from the local community and children.
Ranald Strachan, Fife Coast and Countryside Ranger, said: “This has been a true community project, guided, designed and fulfilled by local volunteers and community members and 71 Engineer Regiment.
“Fife Coast and Countryside Trust has lent its experience and knowledge of landscape maintenance to this project, and I have gladly been able to guide, advise and work on the project since it began. It has been great to see this scheme come together for the benefit of the Leuchars community.”
Mark Sharp, Leuchars Community Council, remarked: "It has been really heart-warming to see the community come together to deliver a Project that one and all can enjoy. The enthusiasm shown by the children for planting trees was quite amazing, and the local youth club has paid a visit to the garden to speak to Ranald and find out more about it. We would not be at the stage we are if not for the assistance provided by Harry Black, a local farmer and the TA who cleared the site in a matter of days. As this is truly community based, we hope that residents will contact the Community Council with their ideas and offers of support, as the Garden is still in its infancy with a lot of mileage ahead."
Lieutenant-Colonel Cribb, Commanding Officer of 71 Engineer Regiment, commented: “The construction of the Leuchars Community Garden provided my Territorial Army soldiers with an excellent opportunity to use their military engineer skills and training on a project that will have a long lasting and positive impact on the local community. It provided worthwhile and challenging training for everyone involved and has helped to raise the profile of the Territorial Army in Leuchars.”