FEW THINGS are better at bringing together a community than the chance to share some food.

Eating together is nourishing in more ways than one – as a group of creative young people in Kinning Park have discovered.

The teenagers are taking part in a Creative Pathways Glasgow project to build a pizza oven for a local community garden.

Project artists Mina Heydari-Waite and Allan Whyte are working with the group, teaching artistic techniques while exploring environmental issues and devising ways of promoting green messages in their communities.

Allan explains: “A community pizza oven embodies just about every aspect of community you can think of – cooking together, eating together, sharing food and knowledge and ideas at fun, informal events. It’s a lovely thing to have.”

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The oven will be donated to the Pacitti Garden in Kinning Park on June 20 at a pizza-packed community event. The garden was initially created from an area of derelict land at the back of a row of shops, with the help of a Streets Ahead grant.

Now it has blossomed into a much-used and greatly-loved community resource.

Allan says: “We wanted to team up with an established community garden and work with young people to help them develop their skills, so that more opportunities would open up for them.”

At workshops running each week at Impact Arts in Dennistoun, the group has been trying their hand at screen-printing, natural dyes, paper collage and pinhole camera photography.

They have also been discussing environmental issues, identifying problems such as pollution, litter, vandalism and overcrowded public transport.

They have been using an environmentally-friendly portable pizza oven, donated by Edinburgh-based company Ooni, to hone their pizza practice.

“We have also struck up a friendly relationship with the Zero Waste Market in Dennistoun, who have donated package-free vegetables and oil,” says Allan.

The project is running until June, when the young people will used recovered and recycled materials to build their own pizza oven at a community garden in Glasgow.

To mark this event, they will publish a guide, so others can follow their example.

Read more: Streets Ahead Awards 2019: Who should win best school?

In the meantime, the group – who are not currently in employment, education or training – are getting support from Impact Arts to find opportunities for them to move into once the course finishes.

“Like Streets Ahead, our project has community at its heart,” says Allan.

“It’s been good for these young people, many of whom have had a tough time of it, to see community work in action, and to feel part of it.

“They will be able to teach people how to use it, and learn some transferable skills as a result.

“The young people have also responded really well to the environmental issues we have been discussing as part of the project – they are very keen to use salvaged materials to build the oven, for example – things that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.”

Allan adds: “The Pacitti Garden is the perfect place for the new pizza oven – right at the heart of the community.”


Are you involved in a community project? Tell us about it – email ann.fotheringham@heraldandtimes.co.uk or call 0141 302 6555.