An Aberdeen community group is continuing its work to improve the outdoor spaces in the Seaton area of the city – but they need help from the public to reach their next goals.
Fresh Community Wellness reached out to local residents for their views on the future of the Seaton totem pole area back in August and now has permission to get to work.
The group will also be rejuvenating the green space on the corner of School Road and Seaton Avenue and are developing a large community garden, which will cover ground from Bayview Court along to Aulton Court.
However, as the work is increasing, the group is in need of more ideas, volunteers and donations of supplies so they can keep going.
Group founder and operations coordinator, Sam Raion, explained: “It’s not just an idea anymore, it’s now actually doing things.
“We’ve already started with some planters, including two full size planters from the council’s environmental manager Steven Shaw, and we’re working with Keep Growing Aberdeen to start growing food to help tackle poverty.
“We also have permission to paint the benches and playpark facilities. It would be great if people were able to donate any painting or gardening supplies so we could get more involved.”
Can you donate a container?
The main item on Fresh Community Wellness’s wish list is a large container where they can safely store all of their gardening and painting supplies.
Mr Raion continued: “What we’ve found is that we also need an outdoor storage space and we thought there may be someone or a company who would be able to donate a container to us.
“We now have access to the common room at Northsea Court, where people can come in for a chat and a cuppa, but because it’s a council building we can’t store paint and supplies there.
“Our plan is to upcycle it and get the kids to paint some designs on the outside. And we’d like to have a living roof with lots of plants on top which would mean the high-rise blocks would be able to look down on it and see a garden within a garden.
“Eventually, we would also like to use it for activities like a Men’s Shed, so we can help people with their mental health as well and get more people outside.”
‘For the community, by the community’
Local councillor Alex McLellan visited Seaton on Friday to see some of the work Fresh Community Wellness are doing firsthand.
He said: “It is absolutely brilliant to see the fantastic work that Sam and the team are doing – brightening up the community.
“I would encourage anyone who is keen to get involved to do so as Fresh Community Wellness look to continue the good work done to date, benefitting the whole community.”
All of the work being completed in Seaton is a true team effort that includes volunteers from the local community, as well as representatives from Aberdeen City Council, Keep Growing Aberdeen and Aberdeen Gurudwara.
Mr Raion continued: “The council has been been absolutely brilliant. I think because it ties in with being a priority to get people outside and connected with nature, and also covers poverty, mental health and physical health.
“It has been great having that recognition from local councillors and other groups. People recognising what is being done for the community by the community, and also encouraging more people to come onboard.
“Local barbers Eclipz and printers Rapid are giving us 5,000 flyers so we can reach more people, especially those who may not have Facebook. And for them it’s a way to give something back to the community.”
Look after yourself and your neighbours
By improving the outdoor spaces in Seaton, Fresh Community Wellness hopes more residents will be encouraged to spend time outside and in turn help to improve individual’s mental health following the pandemic.
The group hosts a number of sessions and activities each week where members of the community can come together, including those at risk, vulnerable or socially isolated.
People of all ages are invited to take part in litter picking, football, group walks or even just meeting up for a chat.
“Engagement is so important, listening and talking to people, hearing their stories. Especially those who have been on their own during lockdown. We now have more things that might appeal to different groups of people.
“We’re working towards the community centre opening in November and really want to keep engagement throughout autumn and winter, which can be difficult for a gardening group.
“But we now have more things that might appeal to different groups of people. It’s about bringing back community spirit, being able to look after yourself, as well as your neighbour.”