Happy new year everyone. Although 2016 may be remembered for all the wrong reasons, the Water Works is hopefully the exception. Here’s a rundown of 2016
The year started off with East Renfrewshire’s first community orchard. Hundreds of secondary school pupils, community groups and individuals planted over 250 different species of apple, pear and plum trees over the dreich months of winter. This includes many local ‘heritage’ varieties, so looking forward to a diversity of textures and flavours from Scotland’s orchard heritage for everyone to enjoy.
As well as planting fruit trees, we were pleased to welcome James Gow as our Artist in Residence, expanding the range of activities on offer. This included the Water Works’ Make your Mark day, a week long Art Camp during the school holidays and dedicated school sessions. James also attended a range of community events and activities throughout the year. Thanks James for all your efforts, you will be missed.
As well as our glorious display of seasonal wildflowers, we were proud to host a range of different projects throughout the year. This included our ‘Pumpkin Patch’ project, which was a massive success involving local kids and ultimately providing the basis for our Halloween pumpkin carving and storytelling events in October – a spooky end to the season.
With the help of the Richmond Fellowship, we held our second ‘Big Lunch’ during a lovely summer’s day in June. With a range of food (including freshly prepared wood-fired pizza from our mud oven) and activities on offer, a wonderful day was had by all.
In August we held our first ever nature explorers week culminating with the Wild Water Works ‘Bioblitz’ event. Hundreds of different people came throughout the week, starting with nursery kids and their parents from Carlibar Nursery participating in nature based treasure hunts and other fun and games. Later in the week a range of experts from the countryside rangers service, Buglife, Butterfly Conservation and our local beekeeper (yes, we have honeybees at the Water Works!) were on hand for nature safaris and to explore the wonder of the natural world on our doorstep.
As well as events and activities we were lucky enough to host notable visitors. In August the BBC came along to the Water Works to present Grow Wild with the UK’s Best Environment project 2016 for the National Lottery Awards.
Not to be outshone by big-shot celebs, the Manchester Art Gallery – Brew Wild cycle tour came to the Water Works on their way from Manchester to Edinburgh spreading their message of cycling, honey, bees, trees and all things nature.
In September the Water Works hosted the East Renfrewshire Community Food & Growing Network’s first Harvest Lunch event. The idea of a local food network is still in development, however, we were proud to provide a place where people could come together and develop this idea.
All these things would not have been possible were it not for the small but dedicated band of volunteers who keep the Water Works ticking over. A big thank you to Barrhead and Thornliebank Centres for coming out every Friday and making a massive difference. Our autumnal meadow seed collecting and scything events are now be a regular fixture in the annual water works schedule.
So we look to 2017 and what the year has in store. The Water Works Action Group – an association of different people and user groups – will be leading events in 2017. If you have an idea or would like to get involved (perhaps reading this has inspired you?) why not get in touch?
In the meantime, we there are plans afoot for two 2017 winter events. First up is our first Burns Event on Sunday 22 January 2017 3-6pm, which will involve a haggis hunt and burns supper around an open fire. Our second event will be living willow planting, this will happen around 13 February 2017 and open to any anyone who want to get involved.
We are about to commence on an arts project for basins, sinks and other sanitary ware originating from the former Shanks factory in Barrhead. Many more events and activities in the pipeline, so stay in touch to find out what is going on.
2017 will also see 10 new concrete pipe planters near the compound filled with compost ready for growing. The idea is to create an ‘edible entrance’ and will be available to anyone who wants to lease a small growing space for whatever reason.
This year looks to be an exciting time. Thanks for reading and make sure to get involved.
The Water Works team