More will make it merrier down at Merrylee Allotments

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For more than a century, Merrylee Allotments has welcomed people of all ages to explore their horticultural interests.

Like many in Glasgow, the allotments began in 1917 to help boost food production during the First World War.

Since then, the plot has grown, celebrating its centenary last year.

Keen to attract more members, waist-high planting beds were introduced at the allotments allowing elderly and former members to continue their horticultural hobbies without the bending or heavy digging.

With a few vacant plots now up for grabs, residents are being encouraged to get involved.

Derek Livesey, president of the Merrylee Plotholders Association, explained: “The 61B Project was started a few years ago, in July 2013, and we applied for some lottery funding to give the area a bit of makeover.

“The half plot area was becoming derelict as a result of flooding and we received around £8,000. With that, we bought eight beds of various sizes – four at waist height and four stepped for deeper planting; big shed combined for tools and equipment; wheelchair suitable access paths built from the car park and two local trades built the structures and installed ground works over four weeks.

“We opened up the plot to disabled folks too and had some interest, but no long term beneficiaries.

“We recently said cheerio to a few of the members who had taken up the scheme which now leaves us with five vacant raised beds.”

The raised beds are a great way for older and disabled residents to still feel part of the community.

“It’s great for those who can’t bend down as low, and can still use hand tools,” Derek explained. “We also have some step beds which are ideal for wheelchair users.

“There are so many great benefits of having a plot – fitness, healthy eating, community, friendship.

“The other great thing is that it is a great leveller, and what I mean by that is that we have lawyers, cleaners, truck drivers, families, people who are retired.

“It doesn’t matter what your background is or your financial situation, we all have the same problems at the allotment – birds, picking the fruit, insects, how our produce is growing. Everyone is welcome.

“But now, we are looking for elderly, disabled and less able folks to join us.”

If you are interested in joining the Merrylee Allotments, contact Derek at derek.liveseympa@virginmedia.com or Ian McCracken, plot pecretary, by emailing Merryleeplots@yahoo.co.uk.