It is an ambitious project indeed to transform the wasteland at Sunderries Rd that has been neglected for twenty years into a community garden and kids play area, now known as Apache Land!

I learned about it from Ivor Gott who was busy plotting an upcoming artists/community workshop when I popped in to the Stove Cafe. She invited me to come along – it seemed a great photogenic and inspirational subject for my Dumfries Diaries photo project.

The former caravan site was leased to Sandside Community Garden Project Association from the council for a peppercorn rent of £1 for ten years, but with severely insufficient funding for even the basic preparatory work.

Local people responded by putting in some ingenuity in sourcing the required materials and machinery and some hard work by volunteers of all ages, young and old. They even adopted the unwanted giant planters from Queen street! Now these planters were primed waiting to be spray painted in Apache Land style, bold, colourful and beautiful.

Local young artists from Blueprint100 came up with a plan to combine creativity, learning and hard work – by offering sign painting and spray painting workshop to the Sandside residents. Some kids had a go at hand painting, while others put on safety masks to learn new spray painting skills. It was a lot of fun!

I was very impressed with the teamwork demonstrated by even the youngest members of the community, with how focused and determined they were to make their environment better and how high the community spirit was.

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