Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

How cash pot with links to Robert the Bruce is helping Aberdeen community heroes preserve parks, create new eco garden and repair 100-year-old stairway

Thousands from the Aberdeen common good fund will be ploughed into improving the paths around Seaton Park.
Thousands from the Aberdeen common good fund will be ploughed into improving the paths around Seaton Park.

Gardening gurus, park protectors and a group fundraising to restore a derelict public stairway are among the unsung heroes sharing in a major council cash boost.

The Aberdeen common good fund was created as a result of the historic Stocket Charter, which King Robert the Bruce signed in 1319 to give Aberdeen the Forest of Stocket in return for yearly rent.

Robert the Bruce holding aloft the Stocket Charter

Profit raised from the land was the foundation of the fund, which groups still apply to the council for a share of every year.

We met up with community leaders across Aberdeen to shed some light on their work to make the city a better place.

First, we stopped by Tillydrone to see how one eco-friendly group is making use of the Aberdeen common good fund grant…

How community garden blossomed from litter-strewn wasteground

On a clear and chilly spring morning we met John Sergison, chairman of Earth and Worms – which has been running since 2019.

The project has taken over a peaceful community garden tucked behind the pharmacy on Hayton Road.

The Earth and Worms group in Tillydrone.

John and a team of volunteers have been working hard there to create fertiliser and compost from garden and food waste.

Before Earth and Worms took on the space it was littered with rubbish and empty alcohol bottles.

Despite appearances, to John the space “screamed potential”.

The secluded spot off Hayton Road

‘Tillydrone already had a brilliant community’

Following a major clean-up, a simple growing space was created and the garden has since expanded to include composting facilities and a future full of possibilities.

In time it is hoped a kitchen area can be created that will aid with the group’s goals to reduce food waste.

And they want to start offering workshops allowing people to pick and dry herbs or make delicious treats such as jams and infused oils using ingredients grown in the garden.

Earth and Worms also look to support local residents with their mental health and aim to create a stronger sense of community.

John explained: “Tillydrone has already got a brilliant community in it but this is creating a space that’s offering something different in the area.

“Food banks or people living in the local area can drop off peelings and vegetable scraps, as long as they are fresh, and we will turn it into compost.

“We also use cardboard which we get from the pharmacy, coffee grains from Kilau, and once the community campus opens up we can have their coffee grains from the café.

“It’s all about getting as much local waste as possible, keep it here and that way we can be self-sustained in compost and natural fertilisers.”

The project received £26,000 from the common good fund that will create a role for someone to manage the garden full-time.

John said: “It also allocates for a six month feasibility study to be opened up…

“The idea is that, once the space is ready, we can deliver from here a gardening service.

“That then brings in an income to keep this place going and we hope to offer traineeships as well in the future.”

Common good fund helping Home-Start Aberdeen

Meanwhile one of the Granite City’s leading family support charities will receive £45,000.

Established in 1987, Home-Start Aberdeen provides practical and emotional support to around 200 families with young children every year.

Home-Start Aberdeen has been on the go for 35 years.

General manager Eleanor McEwan told us it was an “ongoing challenge” to fund the charity’s vital work and said the last two years had been “particularly difficult”.

She said: “Demand for our services has never been higher.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected families who were already struggling.”

Friends of Seaton Park to fix potholed paths

Seaton Park boasts beautiful garden areas, various species of wildlife and is home to the famous Mr Therm – a former steam engine which was used to transport coal from Aberdeen harbour.

Seaton Park volunteers ensuring the park looks its best

The group was awarded £20,000 and the money will be used to repair some of the paths and roadways in the park.

Chairwoman Sheila Gordon explained: “Whilst this may not seem of great importance it can make walking, running or cycling hazardous and lead to falls.

“It is not only for safety reasons but also for the comfort of anyone in a wheelchair.

“And, having tried out a mobility scooter, I can vouch for how uncomfortable some parts of the local paths and roads are.

“I can only imagine how it feels for a baby or small child in a pushchair.”

The funding comes as the group prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary and Sheila said: “It is good to celebrate with such a lovely award.”

The community champions sprucing up Victoria and Westburn Park

Money was also awarded to the Friends of Victoria and Westburn Parks, a group of volunteers who meet every Saturday to keep the Rosemount greenspace looking its best.

Volunteers at Victoria Park.

The group was formed in November 2013 and currently has around 20 members.

They applied to the Aberdeen common good fund hoping to get money to allow the sides of the ponds in Westburn Park to be fixed.

Group chairwoman Janice Lyon said: “Unfortunately the sides of the ponds are now in such a state of disrepair they are unsafe for children to play there.

“We were delighted to have been awarded the full £15,000 which means we will see these ponds restored to their former glory later this year.”

This vintage image shows the sort of scenes the community group would like to see playing out at the ponds once more.

River Don staircase to be revived

Camouflaged against surrounding greenery, the moss-covered Jacob’s Ladder staircase has been closed off for more than a decade amid safety fears.

Thousands of workers at the Grandholm Mills used it to get to and from work every day in years past.

And in our final interview, we spoke to the Friends of Jacob’s Ladder to learn more about their ongoing project to repair and reopen the historic stairway.

Since being declared structurally unsound, the stairs have been out of bounds.
Years of overgrowth leave the steps looking like they have been reclaimed by nature.

How will thousands from Aberdeen common good fund be spent?

Jacob’s Ladder originally opened to the public in 1921 to provide residents with a route from Don Terrace to Grandholm Bridge.

Because the stairs are out of action pedestrians are forced to add an extra 10 minutes to their journey as they have to walk around Don Terrace onto Gordons Mills Road.

The path from Don Terrace down to the banks of the Don.

The Friends of Jacobs Ladder and River Side Walkway group was officially established in February last year.

Within months, volunteers cleared the granite stairs of weeds, overgrown trees and mud.

Group chairwoman Rosalind Walker started picking up rubbish from the riverside walkway in 2015

After speaking to passing residents she soon discovered how important the Jacob’s Ladder stairs were.

She said: “These stairs have been closed for almost 15 years and the locals wanted them to be reinstated for access purposes, as a community resource and for their historical value.”

A view from Don Terrace down to the riverbank

The group will get £26,000 to put towards the restoration work.

Rosalind explained: “The money will enable us to have a full structural survey carried out on the stairs by a structural surveyor.

“Once we have the figures involved in the restoration of the stairs we then hope to be able to start fundraising on a bigger scale.”

Aberdeen’s Victoria Park fountain back in full flow after £137k restoration