Viewfield Garden Collective provides and promotes therapeutic gardening for vulnerable and disadvantaged adults in Skye and Lochalsh. They use horticulture, creative arts and the environment as a means to support and develop their volunteers. Established in 2006, their large kitchen garden is situated in the grounds of Viewfield House in Portree, Isle of Skye.
Their purposes are:
The advancement of education through the provision of a supportive work environment and training in horticulture for vulnerable people, particularly those suffering from mental health problems, disabilities and social isolation.
The advancement of citizenship and community development by maintaining natural landscapes, paths and our community garden which are open to the general public.
The advancement of health through providing opportunities for social interaction and physical exercise through gardening activities.
The advancement of environmental protection through developing the community garden and woodland paths, and maintaining and restoring the natural environment.
They provide supervised therapeutic gardening support, training, and personal and social development on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Volunteers can attend on an unsupervised basis on the remaining 3 weekdays.
The garden has three cultivated terraces producing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers, as well as two poly-tunnels and an outdoor seating area. They offer a variety of educational and training opportunities including the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society Grow and Learn Awards that focus on individualised learning for all. Volunteers can participate in a range of gardening activities such as flower and vegetable growing, bee-keeping, propagating seeds, soil management, composting, dry-stone walling and willow weaving. They also arrange trips to other garden projects, and organise regular workshops and open days.
Working with Viewfield Garden Collective
Viewfield Garden Collective and Skye and Lochalsh CVO have worked in partnership for a number of years. During Covid-19 restrictions we worked with Viewfield Garden's project officer to deliver green health growing packs to people using SLCVOs daily Community Calls service. The garden has hosted Volunteers' Week celebrations for SLCVO and in 2019 a garden volunteer won Skye and Lochalsh CVO's Volunteer of the year award.
SLCVO have also supported Viewfield Garden Collective trustees in governance changes, policy development and trustee recruitment.
"Working with the trustees and volunteers at Viewfield Garden Collective is always a pleasure. The group provide unique support to their volunteers through growing not only plants but friendships as well." Jo Ford SLCVO Chief Officer
"Having a local organisation delivering third sector services is invaluable to small organisations like VGC. Someone on the ground that understands local issues can signpost to relevant focus groups or agencies and training. You build a working relationship that wouldn't otherwise be possible in our rural and far flung island communities. It makes it easy to ask questions and find solutions quickly. SLCVO has been a point of contact and support for VGC for 15 years; offering advice and practical help ranging from supporting funding applications, constitutional matters, interview processes and recruitment, help with meetings and even admin support and most recently an organisational Health Check which has helped us to identify our needs going forward".
Rosie Somerville Chair VGC.
Find out more about Viewfield Garden Collective on their website