West Kilbride Community Support Group was established in March 2020 to support the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to meeting the immediate needs that the lockdowns imposed on people, the group developed a shared vision to make something lasting and good out of the chaos. The beautiful thing that we saw unfolding over the first year of the pandemic was that it brought together so many motivated and like-minded people, natives and newcomers alike.
During the first 6 months of the pandemic, we facilitated mask making and distributed them for free around WK. We had a satellite food bank, befriending phone support, a mental health awareness "Its okay to not be okay" postcard with important helplines and local services and a few other initiatives.
We are still supporting people with pharmacy deliveries and shopping for those isolating or unable to access their usual support, however, we are also encouraging people to build independence and resilience.
As we move into what we hope is the recovery phase we are concentrating on the following:
The Village Larder -
We want everyone in West Kilbride to have food security. We offer a choice of essentials for a small weekly membership aimed to save people money so that they have more to spend locally, on healthy pursuits or bills for example.
We are partnered with North Ayrshire Council who partially fund the Village Larder. Your support is also valuable so that we can stock a varied selection of quality products and produce.
SHED- Social Horticulture for Experts and Dummies-
Combines social gardening which improves mental and physical wellbeing, with vegetable and fruit growing for sustainable living. This will also serve as a learning resource for the community as we will be learning new skills together that we can take home to our own gardens and in developing the community garden.
We are encouraging people to grow their own and facilitating this with materials to do so.
We are currently planning a development in the centre of the village which we have called The Secret Garden. It is hidden away yet in the heart of the hustle and bustle of things. We will have between 11-14 raised beds to grow in, built from reclaimed wood and recycled cardboard. We want to encourage a trade culture within what we are doing by facilitating swapping produce and sharing knowledge and practical support. Our big goal for the Secret Garden is to provide the Village Larder with fresh produce.
Longer-term goals are to create help yourself vegetable gardens in disused patches around the village.
Imagination Group -
Supports the wellbeing of children and young people with a number of activities. Over 2020 we put together Bags of Imagination with different creative activities and distributed them to the local shops for children to pick up for free. These were very popular. We have a stone painting project soon to launch where children will be invited to decorate stones with materials we will provide. These will become part of a new feature in the Brooch Garden in the glen.
West Kilbride Sings-
A youth choir that we have facilitated began as an online singing group but is soon to move to Garret Gardens for group practice. We can't wait to hear the acoustics work in the quarry and look forward to getting everyone together to sing.
We plan to continue developing ways to improve well-being in West Kilbride and thank you for your continued support.