Bloomin' Bo'ness helps to bring new life to old tennis courts

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The old tennis courts at Bridgeness Bowling Club in Bo’ness will soon be teeming with life again.

However, it won’t be future Andy Murray’s who will be taking over the courts – it will be an amazing array of plants, fruits and vegetables.

Bridgeness Community Garden will be officially opened next month; however, ten tenants have already been sourced for the raised beds now in situ and they took ownership on Monday.

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The idea sprang to life thanks to volunteers at Bloomin’ Bo’ness who approached the bowling club about using the old courts, which have been out of use for around 40 years.

Thanks to 140 old railway sleepers and Bloomin' Bo'ness volunteers, the old tennis courts will soon be teeming with life again.Thanks to 140 old railway sleepers and Bloomin' Bo'ness volunteers, the old tennis courts will soon be teeming with life again.
Thanks to 140 old railway sleepers and Bloomin' Bo'ness volunteers, the old tennis courts will soon be teeming with life again.

Their aim initially was to site a polytunnel on the land, enabling the group – which secured charitable status at the end of last month – to save a fortune by growing their own plants for the many displays and hanging baskets around Bo’ness which its volunteers fill every year.

Like many good ideas, it quickly grew and, thanks to Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway donating 140 old sleepers, volunteers have also been able to develop ten raised beds to transform the space into a community garden.

Lorna Weir, Bloomin’ Bo’ness chairwoman, said: “The group has about 20 volunteers who look after 24 flower beds and 20 hanging baskets and tubs in the town.

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“While we’re well supported by the community and businesses, who sponsor our tubs or donate goods, we were still spending a fair amount on compost and plants.

“We hit on the idea of putting a polytunnel on the old tennis courts to help bring down costs, as well as being an area for our Dumpin’ the Pumpkin composting – which we’ve done for the last two years with local children following Hallowe'en. Local businesses also donate the likes of coffee grounds.

“We approached the bowling club committee and they thought it was a smashing idea. Thanks to local businesses and groups, including Miller Homes, Branches, Tesco and BRAAS, along with donations from the public, we were able to raise just over £2000 for the polytunnel. It was delivered last week and will soon be erected on site.”

The raised beds concept grew thanks to a landscape gardener donating old fencing for the polytunnel base.

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Lorna explained: “We approached the railway to see if they had any old sleepers we could use; the sheer volume they were able to donate led us down the path to Bridgeness Community Garden.

“Three weeks ago, volunteers managed to create ten raised beds to rent out to people in the community. There’s space for at least another ten, probably next year though!”

Volunteers have also been busy cleaning up the old bothy/store at Dundas Cemetery, which they have secured via community asset transfer from Falkirk Council.

As well as providing a wood workshop for volunteers to create planters and bird boxes, the Bloomin’ Bothy will provide much-needed storage space for equipment.

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Lorna added: “It’s been an incredible few weeks with our charitable status, which will make it easier for us to apply for grants, the community garden and bothy. We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us; it’s been an amazing community effort.”

If you’d like to volunteer, email [email protected] or visit www.facebook.com/bloominboness.