West Kilbride Environmental Group are a community group who maintain and develop all the gardens, planters and hanging baskets in West Kilbride.

Volunteers have helped to plant a woodland, wild meadow and community orchard, along with a green centre in a local quarry, Garratt Gardens, where the group grow vegetables and flowers for planting later in the year.

The group needed support with some construction work which would have been prohibitively challenging without specialist help. In particular, the pond on their site was exposed and posed a risk to visiting children who are encouraged to explore the gardens. Kay Hall, lead for the Environmental Group, was one of the first in North Ayrshire to register wishes on the Council’s Wish List back in October 2021. However, it wasn’t until early 2024 that the right contractor came forward to offer their support with the work on site. Kay told us “It took a long time for the offer to appear and we had thought about trying to do the work ourselves – but it would have been difficult. Once we were selected things moved quickly and the materials were priced by David and then bought so perhaps 2 months max.”

The pond before the support from Munro External Works

David Munro, from Munro External Works, spotted the group’s project on the Wish List when he was looking for opportunities as part of the business’ Garden Maintenance for Void Properties contract with the Council. “We visited the site and gave some advice. We then put together a list of material required for the project…then returned to install the fencing”, and David says that finding the group on the Wish List was “pretty simple”, with the option to search making it “much easier for us to identify areas where we could offer assistance”.

The pond after the new fence and gate were installed

The feedback from West Kilbride Environmental Group following David’s support speaks for itself: “We couldn’t have met a nicer contractor. Really relaxed to work with and just turned up when he could and got on with the job. David built us an irregular fence joining into the rock face and providing access through a small gate. It’s lovely and very effective.” The impact isn’t just on the look and feel of the site though, it’s about making significant practical changes that will make the group’s engagement with the local community safer. Kay says that “We now have confidence in safety for visiting children and a secure pond where they may be taught pond dipping identification in small groups…[and] we know we will pass Risk Assessments carried out by any groups involving children.”

If you’re a contractor with North Ayrshire Council who has the time and skills to make a difference to a community project like West Kilbride Environmental Group through your community benefits commitments, then we’d love to hear from you – send an email to communitybenefits@north-ayrshire.gov.uk to arrange a discussion about how your skills and experience can benefit local people and projects.

Are you part of a community group or other Third Sector organisation in North Ayrshire looking for some help with your plans? Check out our Community Benefits Wish List guidance to find out if this process could help you too, and then head over to our short form to get started.