We have a long lease of a 15.5-acre site with West Dunbartonshire Council which is the base for the project. The site was previously a community farm, well-loved and much missed by the local community since it closed, and the site has been unused for more than 10 years. In this time nature has started to reclaim it and we want to work with our recovery clients and the local community to enhance the biodiversity on the site, and encourage community involvement beyond the dog walking that is currently the main use. Our aim is to make Knowetop a good place for people and a good place for nature.
One acre is a fenced space with porta-cabin and storage container where we grow fruit, veg and herbs. The other 14.5 acres offer a range of wildlife habitats, and we have started to establish a community orchard, wildflower areas and a mindfulness garden. There will also community growing spaces.
As well as Alternatives recovery clients, local volunteers, community groups and Community Payback order teams have been involved on site since July 2021. The project aims to provide a space that enables people to benefit from regular time in nature, and the opportunity to become more involved in horticulture and conservation activities. We hope to reduce isolation, increase engagement with nature, and reduce the stigma attached to being in recovery from addiction.
We run a programme of outdoor education with the local primary schools, regular volunteer sessions, and public events and activities for the community.
Our volunteer sessions take place on Tuesdays 1pm to 4pm and Thursdays 10am to 1pm. There is no minimum commitment, we take on different tasks depending on the time of year and what we need done around the site.
We secured funding from WDCVS to run Into Nature, our adult wellbeing sessions, and these take place on Mondays and Thursdays 11am to 3pm. Again there’s no minimum commitment and you don’t have to stay all day. There’s refreshments and lunch, as well as friendly chat and activities to try. Over the winter these take place off site indoors.
If you want more information about anything to do with the project contact Knowetop@alternativeswd.org.
As of October, Knowetop Project gained its own Charitable status. We are working and supporting them through this transition.