Opportunities Project Updates

Call for Consultant: Community Garden and Food Growing in Stranraer

(This Opportunity is Now Closed)

The Stove Network is seeking applications for a consultancy commission to develop a long-term plan and funding applications for the future of the Unexpected Garden in Stranraer.


It is hoped that the consultancy commission will be completed within the first three months of 2023.


A fee of £3000 (inclusive of VAT) is offered for this commission. Reasonable expenses will be reimbursed at negotiated rates and an allowance is also held for any production costs required

Context and Brief

We are seeking an experienced consultant to support the development of the Unexpected Garden in Stranraer ensuring that it has a life well into the future. Stranraer is currently undergoing an exciting period of change and development and already the Unexpected Garden has demonstrated the potential to play a central role in Stranraer’s revitalisation. Significant cultural, economic and social initiatives are underway in the town and there is an ambition for community food growing and education to be a connecting thread in a future Stranraer. The commissioned consultant will:

  • Consult with project partners who have expressed a desire to be part of managing and running the Unexpected Garden (currently approx. 8 established, local, Third Sector groups)
  • Consult with other ongoing regeneration initiatives in the town (eg Stranraer Marina Project and George Hotel redevelopment). Currently a town-wide community place planning (Creating Stranraer) exercise in underway, led by Stranraer Development Trust. The Unexpected Garden is a significant part of the emerging Place Plan.
  • Develop long-term vision for the Unexpected Garden that is aligned with local/national strategy for food security/net zero. This vision will also include a proposed governance/operating structure with financial projections and a programming/development plan that supports the needs and aspirations of project partners.
  • Research funding sources for the future of the Unexpected Garden, develop a fundraising/income strategy and complete funding applications which, if successful, will ensure the initial implementation of the development plan for the garden.

The commission will be managed by The Stove Network and the consultant will work alongside the Community Gardener who will support consultation with project partners on the ground and contribute to the development of the development plan for the Unexpected Garden. Funding applications will be made through project partners Stranraer Development Trust. Additional garden expertise will be available through the project’s Lead Gardener.

Because of the existing strong presence on the ground of partners and project team it is not expected that the consultant will need to be based near to Stranraer; though local knowledge will clearly be an advantage it will not be a high priority within selection.

Funding is available for ongoing maintenance and potentially for some investment in garden infrastructure of the Unexpected Garden up to April 2023. This will be managed by The Stove Network.

How to Apply:

We encourage you to apply in a way that you feel most comfortable or you can submit your CV and a short covering letter, or video, to [email protected], explaining why you’re interested and what you could bring to the role. Please also give an indication of how you would approach delivery of the desired outcomes and how long you anticipate spending on each part.

Deadline for applications: 5pm, Friday 16th December 2022

It’s important that our people reflect and represent the diversity of the communities and audiences we serve. We welcome and value difference, so when we say we’re for everyone, we want everyone to be welcome in our teams too. Wherever you’re from, and whatever your background, we want to hear from you. We will accept applications from anyone and everyone who feels they have the skills required to fulfil this role.

Interested? Get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!


The Unexpected Garden is a community garden situated on the waterfront of Stranraer, its creation was led by The Stove Network and Stranraer Development Trust. The garden was commissioned by EventScotland and funded via the Scottish Government, as part of Dandelion which was Scotland’s contribution to UNBOXED: Creativity in the UK. The Unexpected Garden was created in 2022 on an underused patch of ground next to Stranraer Harbour and the former ferry terminal, it has become a prominent and important symbol of the long hoped for revitalisation of the town and has attracted highly successful partnership working with many local groups. During the summer, the garden became a popular event space for community events ranging from open-mic nights to family craft workshops held in a tent in the garden. Also, the service users of our project partners use the garden regularly and through this activity the garden has become an important mixing space for different sections of the local community. The garden is designed as community food growing project and in September 2022 the Unexpected Garden was home to a community Harvest Festival which was attended by 750+ local folk.

News Project Updates

What is Dandelion All About?

By Beth Piggitt

Beth Piggott – Emerging Creative Producer

Dandelion is a national creative community food growing initiative that is coming to Stranraer.  It is part of the UK wide UnBoxed Festival; a UK wide celebration of creativity taking place in 2022.  A new community garden, known as an Unexpected Garden, will be created on the harbour that brings together food, culture, ideas, and technology driven by the concept of sow, grow and share.  There will be 12 unexpected gardens across Scotland including floating gardens in Falkirk and touring garden on the back of an HGV lorry in Caithness. At the heart of the project, we want to reconnect people with the food they eat, how it’s grown and show them that in the unlikeliest of places food can be grown. There will be a summer events programme which will culminate in a harvest festival in September – with the aim of re-establishing it as a cultural festival for the town.

Why we’re doing it?

Dandelion is committed to empowering young people, inspiring the creative sector and offers new opportunities for the Stranraer community – which is why we’re taking part. Working in partnership, Stranraer Development Trust and The Stove Network are proud to be part of this new initiative that’s going to get hundreds of people growing their own food across Scotland, with over 400 schools taking part and a new archive or stories about growing, gardening and the unique history and memories of the town and local traditions.

What have we planned?

Our Unexpected Garden will be a hive of activity over the summer with a range of volunteer opportunities, events, workshops, and our take on the Harvest Festival. The garden will be a fantastic opportunity for people to come and learn the basics of food growing, try their hand at gardening and become part of a vibrant community; we are looking forward to welcoming new and experienced gardeners (I include myself in the latter).

People will be able to attend our free events and workshop programme over the summer which will encompass talks, music, crafting, music, and art, as well as veggie and herb plug giveaways and vertical farms on tour. Find out more about our programme of events on our Facebook Page.

Process up until now?

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to chat with members of the community to hear what they want to get from the garden and the types of activities they’d like to see there. The garden will be a community project that will continue to evolve over the summer, and I am looking forward to watching it grow as more people visit the garden and leave their mark on it.

Part of my own personal process has involved moving up to Scotland from a small town in Leicestershire and coordinating the build of a new community garden; two things I never imagined happening in my wildest dreams; a comforting reminder that you never know what’s around the corner. I’m sure the garden will continue to remind me of that.

We’ve been lucky to have the support of Northern Lighthouse Board and CalMac who are donating old nautical items including a 27ft lifeboat and 2 big colourful ocean buoys to the garden to help us create a garden fit for a seafarer. Burns Real Ale and Dumfries & Galloway Council have kindly allowed us the space to bring the project to Stranraer and Ulsterbus, who will be providing access to water for the garden have also kindly housed 25 tonnes of soil & mulch.

Find out more about Unboxed & Dandelion

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