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Eglinton Community Gardens unveil latest mental health mural

Posted on 9 Feb 2024

North Ayrshire’s BeeYou (Mental Health) Ambassadors and Climate Change Ambassadors have teamed up with Eglinton Community Gardens on a new community time-capsule and orchard.

All part of the ‘Kindness Murals’ youth project, the unveiling at the community gardens in Kilwinning today (Friday, February 9), marked the latest instalment of a locality-wide mental health awareness initiative where new community spaces are created by young people.

Officially opened by North Ayrshire Provost, Councillor Anthea Dickson, the Provost said: “It was my pleasure today to once again see the hard work and determination of our climate-conscious and mentally-aware young people.

“Everyone really gave it their all today, shovelling and preparing the soil to plant this incredible orchard of apple, pear and plum trees, alongside the burial of a heartwarming and optimistic Kindness Capsule.

“I have learned today that the idea of the time capsule is a key design element in this new outdoor community space. It was introduced so that each of the young people involved could have the chance to anonymously share their own experiences, fears and aspirations – in the form of a reflective scrapbook – for future generations.

"It is hoped that the new trees planted will contribute towards a brighter, greener and more mentally-resilient environment for all. Thank you to every young person involved today. You should all be really proud of yourselves.”

Over the past year, North Ayrshire’s Youth Services team has worked in communities to learn more about what matters most to young people and where additional support is required. This is where the key concern of lack of signposting to mental health support services was first identified as a main goal of the Kindness Murals initiative.

For the latest Kindness Mural, they have worked with local Countryside Rangers to choose the best varieties of apple, pear and plum trees which will contribute towards the local biodiversity and the Council’s Fairer Food for All strategy. The Youth Services team will also continue to support the garden project in the nurture and maintenance of the trees.

Bee You Ambassador and Youth Work Modern Apprentice Paige Donnelly, a young person involved in the project said: “Recently in Dalry, we worked with Garnock Youth Forum to create a graffiti mural with Tragic O’Hara to raise awareness of the community-support available, but for this one, young people in Irvine and Kilwinning wanted to create a tranquil space surrounded by nature and grounded in community-spirit. We’ve supported them to do just that…

“When we visited this garden for the first time last year, we knew it was the perfect space and the Ranger Service has helped us every step of the way.

“Teaming up with them and the Climate Change Ambassadors to help promote a healthy planet as well as a healthy mind has been such an important collaboration for us and I can’t wait to watch these trees grow within our community.

“Planting trees is also symbolic to us because we wanted to create a safe space outdoors where people can take time for themselves and also learn about the mental health support available.

“We’ve also planted heritage species so in five years’ time once the fruit starts to develop, it will be of such a benefit to nature and biodiversity. Trees are known for their strength and resilience, and I feel our project will help visitors to feel stronger and more mentally resilient too.”

Mental Health Champion Councillor Jean McClung was also in attendance. She added: “It is truly inspiring to see how passionate the young people involved in Kindness Murals are, when it comes to building a lasting and positive legacy across North Ayrshire.

“I have no doubt that once these trees fully flourish, they will create a new and inviting space at Eglinton Community Gardens where people can visit to take some time out to pause and reflect all year round.

“As a Council, we know how important it is to create safe and inclusive spaces for our residents. The Kindness Murals initiative is a key strand of the Council’s Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Support Framework to ensure that children, young people and families have visibility and access to locally based health and wellbeing support services – when they need them.

“Creating more places like this one where people can take stock and most importantly ask for help if they need it is so important. Whether it is in a school, community centre, library or even in our public buildings, venues or green spaces, as a Council, we want everyone in North Ayrshire to know that help is available. You are not alone.

“Thank you to everyone involved today in the latest instalment of this important Kindness Mural project.”

To find out more about the Mental Health And Wellbeing support in your locality visit the Mental Health and Wellbeing North Ayrshire map here

Like the Kindness Mural in Dalry, the new space at Eglinton Community Gardens will shortly have signage installed with a QR code (to link already shared above) to scan for local support resources too.

You can also follow the NAC Mental Health and Wellbeing team on Twitter.

Remember, North Ayrshire is your area, you can shape it, all you need to do is have the courage to take the next step.

If you want to get involved in the Kindness Murals project, Climate Change Ambassadors, BeeYou Ambassadors or any other local youth work projects in North Ayrshire, email: youthwork@north-ayrshire.gov.uk