Bridgend Farmhouse is a community-owned centre, located in south Edinburgh. This charitable organisation operates out of a renovated farmhouse and is an inclusive space for locals to learn, work and strengthen community involvement.
Bridgend Farmhouse is a community-owned centre, located in south Edinburgh. This charitable organisation operates out of a renovated farmhouse and is an inclusive space for locals to learn, work and strengthen community involvement. Their goal is to help people live more happily and healthily by addressing social inequalities whilst contributing to local learning and improving surrounding green spaces.
Since launching in 2017, Bridgend Farmhouse has successfully received four rounds of grant funding under the Community Grants scheme. This includes two substantive grants, one Covid-19 grant and one micro-grant. Funded projects included: delivering circular economy upcycling workshops, reducing social isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, launching a bike hub, and building an eco-Bothy to serve as a sustainable community-owned centre for learning, eating and exercise.
(2017) Bridgend Farmhouse Skills for Resilience: This project trained 16 volunteers to facilitate furniture upcycling workshops, which are now on regular offer at the centre.
Originally focusing on upcycling furniture, this project has highlighted strong community interest in developing sustainable and tactile skillsets. Through project facilitators, the workshops went beyond original aims by addressing both health inequalities and the natural environment by raising awareness in an inclusive space. The workshops continue to provide peer support and promote good mental health and wellbeing to participants in a safe space for all to learn and grow. Since the Skills for Resilience project began, several new workshops have been developed based on community hobbies, including a jam and chutney workshop.
“The project allowed us to gain new volunteers, their input and ideas. Perhaps equally crucial, the project has made the concepts of sustainability more accessible; more transparent and initiated discussions, which might otherwise not have taken place. We have been able to use the project as a springboard to complementary projects"
(2019) Bothy Build: An Eco-Bothy was designed and built by more than 80 volunteers between 2015 – 2022, using traditional and ecological techniques. The eco-Bothy was constructed from sustainable materials, with aims to create greater engagement with the outdoors and the environment.
The newly finished Eco-Bothy provides Bridgend Farmhouse with added capacity to grow and develop projects which have a positive impact on the community. The space is designed to create a social space for community members of all ages, enabling them to develop confidence outdoors and engage with nature at night. The bothy is also being used to run weekend courses in the local woodlands, bringing Scottish bothy culture to the city.
“We [now] have an enclosed natural sensory play garden which will offer [children in the community] a safe space to explore... The Eco-Bothy is something new that will benefit people for many years to come.”
(2020) South Edinburgh Mutual Support (Covid-19): This project was a food delivery service for local vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The project delivered over 75,000 meals from April – July 2020 and reduced social isolation for both volunteers and recipients.
Beyond initial aims, the project has reinforced the importance of creating social connections over a meal. Bridgend Farmhouse currently runs several community food projects, including community cooking, catering and training sessions, as well as providing skills development to support disadvantaged young people (aged 16 to 25) and socially isolated adults.
“This project resulted in creating new community partnerships, reached new volunteers and has led to a sustained community engagement at the Farmhouse.”
(2020) Bothy Bike Hub (Micro-Grant): Funding supported a Bike Hub during Covid-19 to help people in the local community get out more using active travel. The hub included free bike hire to key workers, a free bike mechanic service for key workers and people in need, as well as providing free or low-cost refurbished bikes locals on low income.
This project has continued to develop and grow since initial funding was provided. Volunteers and staff have been upskilled to repair bikes, enabling locals to trade in and refurbish used bikes, promoting a culture of circular economy and local sustainability. Apart from trade-ins and fixer-uppers, the hub continues to have high demand, selling 5-6 bikes a week to locals. The hub has also enabled Bridgend to team up with social enterprise 'A wee pedal’. Their collaboration promotes active and sustainable travel, providing lessons in cycling and family-led tours of Edinburgh. The success of the Bothy Bike Hub has grown out of initial Micro-Grant funding and due to sustained interest and engagement, the hub will be expanding to a new building soon.
“We [have] sustained the benefits of the project as we’ve maintained our reach within the community through the project. As part of this project and others, we have developed our own skills and experience to deliver services that relate to cycling and bike maintenance.”
Each funded project under the Community Grants Scheme met or exceeded original application aims and have by and large grown into permanent fixtures within the centre, enhancing sustained community engagement and reach at Bridgend Farmhouse.