Alford Men’s Shed project takes root

Karen Smith, sales manager at Stewart Milne Homes North, with Men's Shed representatives Ed Mathers and Robbie Gordon
Karen Smith, sales manager at Stewart Milne Homes North, with Men's Shed representatives Ed Mathers and Robbie Gordon

An Alford project has come on leaps and bounds after winning a social media competition for a ‘green makeover’.

Alford and District Men’s Shed received the highest number of public votes in the Greener Spaces, Better Places campaign run by the Stewart Milne Group.

The initiative was devised to transform communal outdoor areas for the benefit of whole communities by making them greener and more attractive.

The Men’s Shed caught the public eye with its plans to create a sensory garden, community orchard and series of allotments across its site.

Members got the keys to the former Alford Academy site last summer.

The newly created allotments will be available to individuals or families on an annual basis, and the community orchard and accessible sensory garden will be open to all.

Completed work at the Alford site includes raised beds, a community orchard with forty fruit trees, and 19 half-size allotments which, according to the charity, meets one of the aims of the 2010 Donside Community Council Plan.

Stewart Milne Group chief executive, Glenn Allison, said: “The Alford District and Men’s Shed site has achieved an extensive transformation since winning the Greener Spaces, Better Places campaign.

“The assortment of new features on the site includes an impressive variety of flowers, greenspace and quiet areas to sit, relax and enjoy the outdoors.

“The improvements to the garden will provide many benefits to the local community by allowing families and those suffering from social isolation to engage with a variety of horticultural activities.

“We are very pleased to have been involved in connecting local communities together through the development of gardening activities and wildlife spaces across a variety of locations.”

Men’s Shed secretary, John Reid, said: “Since winning the award we have been able to successfully develop and dramatically enhance our gardening site for the future, as well as bring a sense of unity to the local Alford community.

“We feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in the Greener Spaces, Better Places campaign which has allowed the Alford Men’s site to benefit many across the local community.

“We cannot thank Stewart Milne Group enough for their continued commitment to help communities enhance their horticultural surroundings and promote local biodiversity and wildlife.”