AN AUCHINLECK group have scooped more than half a million pounds for community projects.

The Auchinleck Community Development Initiative secured over £500,000 of funding which has gone directly into the heart of the community.

Thanks to the group they have successfully developed a landscaping and gardening social enterprise creating jobs and a sanctuary for residents.

The Knowe Garden Centre and Auchinleck Premier Landscaping have created six new permanent jobs, but it’s also given the community confidence that they can lead positive change. People of all ages have been able to get involved, enjoying time outdoors, growing food and flowers, and developing social connections.

Auchinleck Community Development Initiative (ACDI) was founded in the deprived area of Auchinleck to improve the area and create jobs.

One of their first projects was taking over derelict sites and turning them into small volunteer-led community gardens, growing and selling plants to generate a turnover of £2,000-3,000 a year.

The Knowe Garden Centre is now an oasis of greenery in the midst of a run-down estate, growing and selling plants, holding horticultural workshops and training events, teaching plant science to local schools and providing a public garden area for the local community. There is a sensory area, poison garden and schoolchildren volunteering scheme, all ideas adapted from the visits. They reached their volunteer management goals also with assistance from The Alnwick Garden, writing and implementing new policies