The East Camp Social and Horticultural project

The East Camp Social and Horticultural project

Name of organisation/business: 
Projected managed by Tagsa Uibhist in partnership with East Camp Trust
Outer Hebrides LEADER: £37,383
Scottish Rural Development Programme priority: 
Supporting rural communities
Contact details: 
Catherine Mackinnon 01870 602 111




Watch our short film below to find out more about the East Camp Social and Horticultural project based in Benbecula. This growing project was part-funded by the Outer Hebrides LEADER programme 2007-2013.

Case study: East Camp from ScottishRuralNetwork on Vimeo.

What are the aims of your project?

  • Provide support to vulnerable individuals who struggle with life issues, offering a relaxed outlet for a number of horticultural projects to inspire and develop individual self-esteem.
  • Stress relief and social opportunities for people experiencing mental health issues
  • Reduce the feeling of isolation and work towards social inclusion
  • Ensuring access for a range of ages and groups within the community
  • Empower individuals to support themselves
  • Promoting better physical health through exercise and learning how to use or strengthen muscles to improve mobility.
  • Network and work in partnership with local voluntary and statutory agencies
  • Offer people an opportunity for self-expression and a chance to explore their creativity

How did your project achieve these aims?

  • Work with local providers/businesses
  • Include our communities in decision making by service surveys, questionnaires and visits
  • Creating new jobs
  • Activities would give women and men skills to improve their prospects of gaining work by providing educational and training opportunities on site
  • Training for new employees
  • Working together with East Camp Trust, Sustainable Uist, Cothrom and other organisations that will help develop the project to the higest standard
  • Having the advantage of growing both inside and outside, which would extend the growing season and enable us to grow a wide and interesting variety of vegetables, bedding plants, flowers and shrubs etc

Who's involved?

Project was projected managed by Tagsa Uibhist in partnership with East Camp Trust. Two part time co-ordinators and trained volunteers will be employed to manage the allotments sites, the old polytunnel and new greenhouse.

How was the project funded?

Outer Hebrides LEADER funding, with match funding from East Camp Trust, Tagsa Uibhist and Awards for All.

Where did you go for help and advice?

  • Visited a well established horticultural project on the Isle of Barra to gain insight into how a project of this kind is run
  • Liaised with other organisations with a similar agenda
  • Consulted Community Psychiatric & Substance misuse services for an indication of the needs amongst their client group
  • Attending networking events

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

  • Employing staff
  • Supporting volunteers
  • Growing produce for the local communities – supplying vegetables for box scheme
  • Putting up a Keder Greenhouse on site for longer growing season

And the biggest challenge?

  • Getting the project up and running
  • Producing products to sell on time

What's next for your project?

The project continued after funding. It was run by dedicated volunteers who produced vegetables and bedding plants for sale, bringing in a small income to help maintain the project.

Since then we have had funding in 2014/15 from Climate Challenge Fund and further funding 2015/16 from them.

This has helped us expand the Keder Greenhouse. Members of the community rent raised beds inside and outside the Keder to grown own produce. The project also has beds for growing produce to sell locally.

Lews Castle College have also rented beds for a course they had been running.

The project also has a number of referrals for supporting individuals with specific needs.

We have in post a part-time project leader and two co-ordinators (one full-time/one part-time). We are working in partnership with Cothrom to deliver SVQ’s in level 1 & 2 in Horticultural.

We are working on a pilot project with two local crofters to produce enough potatoes to supply the schools in Uist and that starts in September 2016.