An old Dundee bowling green which has been abandoned for years is to be turned into a therapeutic garden for war veterans.
The city council has approved in principle the idea of transferring the green and an associated building at Dudhope Park to the charity Gardening Leave, and to enter into lease negations with them for the site.
Veterans will be able to work on raised beds, to ensure that those with mobility difficulties are able to join in the work, and will grow a variety of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
According to the charity’s chief executive Heather Budge-Reid, it could help the ex-servicemen and women regain a sense of community engagement and help with their transition to civilian life.
She said: “If you think about the fact that veterans signed up to serve and that desire to serve is very strong in them, we are giving them the opportunity to give.
“A traditional therapeutic garden is a nice place to be, but a horticultural therapeutic garden is a place where tasks can happen. It’s very much focused on meaningful activity.”
The charity was founded in 2007 and currently has gardens in London and Glasgow. They also have a flagship site on the Auchincruive estate in South Ayrshire and work closely with Scotland’s Rural College, which is based there.
While the Dudhope Park green has been disused for some time, other bowling clubs in the area are still active and are disappointed by the transfer.
A spokesman for Dudhope Bowling Club, which has a private bowling green nearby, said: “It’s disappointing, but not surprising in view of the dwindling number of people bowling nowadays.”
However, SNP Councillor Jimmy Black whose ward of Coldside includes the park is enthusiastic about the change.
“It’s great to see the park being used,” he said. “It actually prevents vandalism and there’s no point having a part of the park lying neglected.”
He added: “For people who have suffered trauma as a result of serving in the armed forces, it’s a really good way for them to begin getting better.
“The council want it to happen and they want to make the park available for that purpose. We approved the principle of it, but it’s now up to the group to organise.”
The project has received 73,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR fund, a 10,000 Gro100 Grassroots grant from Scotts Miracle-Gro, and 10,000 from the Lethendy Trust.