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Youth Services open latest Kindness Mural

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.

Project lead, Dionne Griffiths, Mental Health and Wellbeing Project Delivery Officer said: “I am so proud of everyone involved so far in Kindness Murals. The hard work and determination of our climate-conscious, mentally-aware young people is so inspiring.

“Everyone really gave it their all last week to shovel and prepare the soil to plant this incredible orchard of apple, pear and plum trees, alongside the burial of our optimistic Kindness Capsule.

“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.

“We hope that alongside the new trees planted, we have done our small part to contribute towards a brighter, greener and more mentally-resilient environment for all. Thank you to everyone and to all the support and expertise provided by Ranger Linda and Eglinton Community Gardens who have been amazing providing us with the space . You should all be really proud of yourselves.”

“Planting trees is 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.”

Bee You Ambassador and Youth Work Modern Apprentice Paige Donnelly, a young person involved in the project.

A vision for a more mentally-resilient North Ayrshire

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.”

Once these trees fully flourish, visitors to Eglinton Community Gardens will have a dedicated space to pause and reflect all year round.

Dionne adds: “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 to us and we hope to work on the next mural in Irvine later this year. Whether it is in our schools, community centres, libraries 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.”

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 scan for local support resources too. You can also follow the NAC Mental Health and Wellbeing team on Twitter.

If you would like to roll up your sleeves and use some of your dedicated employee volunteering hours to volunteer over at Eglinton Community Gardens email Ranger Linda at:

A message from Linda Tedford, Countryside Ranger: “It has been a pleasure teaming with young people from the Kindness Murals and Bee You Ambassadors project – thank you to everyone who gave it their all at the recent tree planting session!

“Located at the entrance to the country park – we have big aspirations to provide assistance and support for local communities via Eglinton Community Gardens.

“It’s a place for people to find themselves, meet new friends, develop new skills, and keep fit and active, all whilst growing healthy fruit and vegetables, not just for their benefit, but for that of the wider community through our community hubs, larders and other projects.

“The impact that volunteers can have is huge, we’re incredibly grateful to everyone who has contributed to the gardens so far. Those many hands are helping make a giant leap forward in our efforts to accomplishing our goals to create a beautiful and productive space for everyone to enjoy.”

Email: if you and your colleagues would like to get involved too using the Council’s Employee Volunteering allocation (of 2 days per year).

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