Barrhead man gets red carpet treatment

John McFarlane from barrhead Water Works attended the  National Lottery Award
John McFarlane from barrhead Water Works attended the National Lottery Award

A national scheme which has 73 projects across Scotland celebrated its recognition with a prestigious award.

Grow Wild, which includes a scheme at Barrhead Water Works, was appearing on the National Lottery Awards TV show last week in front of a star-studded audience.

Staff and volunteers from the initiative, including John McFarlane from Barrhead, were joined on the red carpet by celebrities such as John Barrowman, Kimberly Wyatt and Katie Derham as they accepted their honour.

Twenty three-year-old John has been involved in the Water Works project for the past two years. He first got involved when he’d just left school and was unemployed. Off the back of his involvement at Water Works, John was offered a two-year scholarship in horticulture – he’s just passed the first year with flying colours and will be starting the second this month.

The Water Works at Barrhead, led by East RenCouncil, won the public vote to become Grow Wild’s Scottish flagship site in November 2013. It has since undergone a dramatic transformation from derelict sewage works to a community-friendly wild flower space.

In doing so, it’s become a beacon for what Grow Wild is all about: people coming together to make a difference in their community, using UK native wild flowers. No corner of the two-hectare site, which had been derelict for over 30 years, has been left untouched. Star features include willow entrances, carved railway sleeper borders, large circular concrete containers, sweeping paths, dry stone walls and 16,000 plants, which were nurtured by Young Enterprise Scotland’s Training Academy.

Over 90 per cent of all materials used for the revamp are recycled – many items were found on-site and upcycled, including stone from old treatment tanks.