Growing Skills of the North Ayrshire Gardening Project



An employability assistance program for people with disabilities is developing at Eglinton Country Park.

The Council’s EQUAL program offers people with physical and learning disabilities and mental health problems the opportunity to acquire new skills, gain experience and work towards a qualification in the field. goal of obtaining a fulfilling and long-term job.

It is a key part of Community Wealth Building, the council’s adapted business model, by providing targeted support to groups who often struggle to enter the workforce – helping people lift themselves out of poverty.

It came to fruition with a £ 500,000 investment agreed by Cabinet in June

The current six-month program takes place at Eglinton Park with nine

The interns worked alongside
Employability team, forest rangers and volunteers from various other groups to transform a vacant lot into a community garden.

And in the first eight weeks, the team has already built a steel frame for their tunnel, undertaken soil maintenance, built colorful planters, and transformed a container into a comfortable ‘hub’ space – and they have many. other exciting projects in preparation.

They also engaged with the neighboring allotment group, obtaining advice on planting and harvesting fresh produce.

The group meets Monday through Friday and although most of their time is spent in the
garden, they meet once a week at Trinity Church in Irvine to undertake

The employability team that runs the program interviewed local employers, which resulted in job offers for the interns at the end of the project.

Council chief Joe Cullinane visited the park last week to meet with the team,
interns and volunteers involved and hear them directly about the benefits
it is to provide.

He said: “It was fantastic to join everyone last week and see firsthand the

the positive difference that the EQUAL program is making in the lives of these

“From talking to the trainees, it is clear that the project not only provides them with new skills and experiences, but also builds their self-confidence and gives them new aspirations for future employment. And that is exactly the aim of the EQUAL program.

“It’s about recognizing that with the right approach, everyone can contribute to
creating a vibrant and inclusive economy here in North Ayrshire.

“There are already so many positive points in the project. I can’t wait to see how this plays out over the remaining months and see what happens next for the interns involved.



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