The Hope Hub in Kirkmuirhill is set to open a sensory garden to benefit local people after being awarded a grant from Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Wind Farm community fund.
The community hub will open its new community outdoor space in late spring of this year after winning a £12.5k grant from the Hamilton based employer, Banks Renewables, in April 2021.
The grant paid for a large polytunnel, raised beds, tools and equipment and plant saplings as well as enabling the group to install benches and pathways for the community to use and enjoy.
Volunteers at the Hope Hub had been working hard each weekend to create the much-needed communal garden at the facility, which benefits Kirkmuirhill, Blackwood and surrounding Clydesdale villages.
Willie Moyes, a volunteer with the Hub, believes a great number of people in the surrounding area will benefit from the project.
He said: “We’re delighted to be able to finally open this new community space, which we’re hoping will benefit a huge range of people from all walks of life.
“Our dedicated group of volunteers have been brilliant, keeping the project on track despite some bad weather conditions over the winter and various lockdowns!
“The raised beds and level pathways will make for easy access for those with mobility issues and there will be plenty to feel and smell for those that struggle with sight.
“It is a tranquil area to go and relax, and, so far it has been appealing to groups of all ages, from pre-school to the elderly.
“There has already been a gardening club formed with about 20-40 members who have started the planting in the polytunnels and even made plans for an orchard area to be created later this year.”
The Hope Hub was founded in 2014 when the Hope Church (Blackwood and Kirkmuirhill) was established – with around 130 members meeting weekly, temporarily at the community wing of Blackwood Primary School.
In 2016 it acquired its current premises, the former Blackwood Care Home. Its dedicated volunteers have transformed the building and grounds into a multi-use community hub facility.
The charity exists to advance citizenship, support community wellbeing and the relief of poverty – and to encourage all statutory, third sector, community groups and members of the rural communities to use the new facility.
Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager with Banks Renewables said: “This new garden represents a vital step forward in the Hope Hub’s aims to create a thriving community facility and we are delighted to have given it a helping hand to reach this milestone.
“The new space is amazing and a total testament to Willie and the rest of the team’s hard work over the last 10 months or so.
“We have no doubt that this will be a well-used and well-loved space to be enjoyed by the community.”
The Kype Muir Community Fund awards over £130,000 per year to groups within 10 kilometres of the wind farm. Funding started in April 2019 when the wind farm started to produce green electricity.
The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic, social and infrastructure benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
Kype Muir and Kype Muir extension are set to deliver community benefits equating to more than £770,000 in funding made available to surrounding communities each year.
The 41 turbines of Kype Muir and Kype Muir extension will have a combined installed generating capacity of over 150MW of electricity per annum. This is enough to meet the electricity needs of over 100,000 homes, or over 200,000 people or a city larger than Aberdeen.
 Calculated using approved UK Government methodology
For more information, visit: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/