A fire-hit community allotment in Angus will rise from the ashes better than ever thanks to local fundraisers.
The Food is Free Carnoustie base was destroyed in a blaze last month but the community quickly rallied round to help, donating £7,000 for repairs.
Founders say the cash will pay for all of the restoration work, with plenty left over for improvements, including making the garden accessible for people with disabilities.
Laura Tierney, who co-founded the Panda Lane initiative five years ago, said the generosity of supporters would allow the garden to become better than before.
“The fundraising was amazing,” she said.
“Local businesses donated, there was a crowdfunder and people were just posting money through our doors.
“The response was great, people really got behind us. For something that was so negative, it has become so positive.
“It has been a huge boost.”
A 16-year-old girl was charged in connection with the fire and reported to the Youth Justice Assessor.
Rising from the ashes
Following the incident in early December, volunteers rallied for an initial clear up at the site, removing charred debris and carrying out basic repairs.
It had been hoped new polytunnels could be installed this month, donated and fitted free of charge by Andrew Gray of neighbouring Auchrennie Farm, but this may be delayed by new lockdown restrictions.
Further down the line, Laura hopes to install new flooring in the polytunnel and flatten paths to make the garden accesible to wheelchair users and people with other disabilities.
“We really want to make disabled access a priority,” she said.
“The lack of accessibility has always bothered me because it limited who could come so if we can lay it out better it would be more inclusive.
“We have wanted to do that for long time but didn’t have the money.”
Laura also hopes people in the community will come forward with ideas about how to spend the remaining cash.
“There are still repairs needing done but after that we want the community to have an input in how the money is spent because they donated it,” she said.
“We have never had major funding, we have always tried to reuse and recycle but this money will allow us to make some big improvements.
“Rather than rush it we want to step back and ask people what they want the garden to be like, so the community feel like it’s theirs.
“If people didn’t care about the garden they wouldn’t have donated to it so it’s important to us that they’re part of it.”