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NewsCommunityGarden centre project helps struggling careers to grow

Garden centre project helps struggling careers to grow

An East Ayrshire garden centre has created a string of job opportunities for the local community.

Image of the Knowe Garden Centre


An innovative community project has created more than 40 job opportunities since it launched a service offering gardening and soft landscaping work and creating an ‘oasis of greenery’ in the local community.

The Knowe Garden Centre, which is located in Auchinleck, has evolved into a commercial gardening operation after being developed from a derelict site eight years ago.

As well as growing and selling plants and providing a public garden area for the community, The Knowe sells its services to local residents – offering garden tidy-ups, grass cutting and general soft landscaping.

The project is aiming to continue to add to the 40 staff it has already hired on minimum six-month paid contracts – with 28 of them going in to find full time work.

The Knowe is one of the inspirational community success stories to now feature in the latest edition of the MyLand.Scot campaign, an initiative run by the Scottish Land Commission to highlight how land is being used positively around Scotland for the benefits of the wider community.

The Knowe is part of the Auchinleck Community Development Initiative (ACDI), a lottery and grant funded social enterprise which has transformed land in the local area to provide garden help, knowledge and careers to the Auchinleck community and its surrounding areas.

The venture features a range of attractions including a sensory garden, vegetable growing area and poison garden, as well as holding horticultural workshops and teaching plant science to schools.

A key aspect of the centre is that it has become fully self-sufficient, reducing its carbon footprint. The Knowe uses its own compost, cuttings are grown from existing plants instead of purchasing from abroad and the centre re-uses rainfall water.

One person who has benefited by gaining employment is Scott Caddis, who started the position of Assistant Gardener at The Knowe.

Image of the Knowe Garden Centre employee Scott Caddis


Scott Said: “Not only have I now had really valuable work and experience out of the centre, but I’ve also found a lot more appreciation for my community. I’m excited to continue my career path in the world of gardening.”

ACDI Development Manager, Stephen McCarron, is positive about the future job opportunities The Knowe can provide.

Stephen said: “Myself and all the team at ACDI are really pleased about the roles we have created. We have turned the old land into a multi-purpose hub which has benefitted local community as well as the environment.

“We’ve gone from strength to strength since we started here at The Knowe. Schools and residents of the area are now heavily involved in the project. I can only see us continuing to make more of a positive difference going forward.”

The Knowe Garden Centre is one of a number of new projects to be showcased on which highlight groups who have changed the land around them to improve their communities.

Launched in 2021, MyLand.Scot is designed to increase the Scottish public’s participation in land reform through a series of case studies, information pages and a brand new podcast, The Lay of the Land.

Hamish Trench, Chief Executive of the Scottish Land Commission, said: “The way we own and use land influences many parts of our everyday lives. From the price and availability of housing, access to greenspace, the effects of derelict sites in the heart of our communities, our ability to take climate action, to giving people the means and confidence to build businesses and communities.

“Through sharing stories of communities taking an interest in land across the country, MyLand.Scot aims to inspire people to take a look at the land around them and stir an interest to take action.

“The Knowe Garden Centre is an excellent example of how areas of derelict land can be used to transform people’s careers and lives – and all in a sustainable, self-sufficient way. It is great to see how the project continues to positively impact people’s lives on a regular basis in Auchinleck.”

“Through MyLand.Scot, we want to raise awareness of the role and benefits land can play in everyday life in Scotland – to encourage people to get involved in conversations about land and take action in their local area.”

For more information on MyLand.Scot visit:

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