Media Release: Sowing the seeds for a healthier future

MINISTER for Public Health, Shona Robison, MSP, officially opens the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Community Gardens Project today (18 May) and sees the positive impact of gardening on health and wellbeing.

The community gardens project aims to bring people from different cultures and generations together to improve individual and community confidence.

The Minister will be given a tour of the initial plot for the community gardens project, meet staff, hear first-hand about participants’ involvement in the project and plant a tree to celebrate the initiative’s success to date.

Dr Charles Winstanley, chair, NHS Lothian, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Minister to this project, which marks our commitment to the use of community gardens on our land, as an important part of health promotion. This project brings members of the local community and patients together as they work alongside each other to grow things.”

Speaking at the opening, Minister for Public Health and Sport, Shona Robison, said: “I am delighted to open the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Community Gardens.

“Not only will the gardens be beautiful but gardening is also a good way to keep fit. These gardens are a great example of staff, patients and the community coming together to get active and have fun.

“The 2014 Commonwealth Games can inspire all Scots to be more active so it is fantastic to see NHS Lothian using existing facilities to provide greater opportunities for physical activity.”

Des Ryan, chief executive of Cyrenians, said: “NHS Lothian has shown great vision in making this land available for the community gardens project.

“Projects like this are about including people and providing a growing space for groups and individuals. Many people come along because they want to work outdoors and with nature, but they stay because of the people.”

Liz Murray, member of the Parent Teachers Association for the Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School, said: “I’ve been coming along to the project with my children and some of their school friends and families. I was keen for my children to learn at first hand where their food comes from, and what can be achieved when the community works together. So for us this project is a great place to play and a really interesting outdoor classroom.”

The community gardens will be developed on unused land within the hospital grounds over the coming years. Each garden will be created and kept by local people and community groups. The project is open to all ages and all levels of fitness.

Community gardens differ greatly from private allotments, featuring allocated growing plots for individuals or groups for vegetables, fruit, herbs or flowers and also having common areas of grass and other cultivation for the amenity of the whole group.

Anyone who does not have a garden of their own or who wants to learn about gardening can get involved in the Royal Edinburgh Hospital Community Gardens Project by contacting the Edinburgh Cyrenians on


Notes to Editors

  • Edinburgh Cyrenians is an independent charity that has operated with continuous steady growth and success since 1968. It provides solutions to poverty and homelessness and work towards a Scotland that makes room for all.
  • The land will be available on short-term (12 month rolling) leases.
  • Photographs available.

Issued: 18 May 2010

Aislinn McGrane

Communications Officer

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Contact: Aislinn McGrane
Phone: 0131 5369355
Website: http://www.