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New PLANT Committee, staff changes and volunteering

By 1st April 2022No Comments

Farewell luch for Ali and Kirsty at Community Garden

Update by Jan Davidson

The new PLANT management committee met in the Larick Centre on the 23rd March, following our Annual General Meeting.  In the event, it was a very short meeting as we didn’t have keys to lock up!  However, we did manage to conduct our main business, which was to appoint a Chair and other officers of the Committee.  Under our Terms of Reference from Tayport Community Trust, we are required to have a Chair, a Treasurer and an Administrator.

At the AGM, we had to bid a sad farewell to outgoing members. Margaret Robertson who was PLANT’s hard-working Chair and eloquent spokesperson for many years is leaving us for family duties in Prestwick.   Jessie Roberts, who has worked tirelessly to establish PLANT and the Community Garden right from the start, is leaving us too, to have a much needed rest and also to travel and have a life outside PLANT!  Maggie Taylor has also stepped down for family reasons after a long association with PLANT and a really fruitful time on the Management Committee when she established an Alzheimer’s Group within the Garden and has been a valuable source of contacts and knowledge from her time as a Fife Councillor.  We wish them well but we will miss them very much.   Hopefully they will only be an email or a Zoom call away when we need them.

The members of the Management Committee who are continuing from the previous Committee are –

  • Dave Vallis
  • Jan Davidson
  • Bill Mason
  • Mark O’Reilly, and
  • Lewis Forgan

We also welcomed back Janice Gibson, a hardworking volunteer and one of the founding members of PLANT.  Tony Gowland, also a supporter, volunteer and former Trustee of TCT, has joined the Management Committee.  And we extended a very warm welcome to Donald Coutts, a keen supporter and new to the Committee.

We also have a few people ‘in the wings’ who have skills they would like to contribute but are not ready to commit to being on the Committee at this stage.  We hope they will join our meetings and share their thoughts as we go forward.

In the absence of someone to fill Margaret Robertson’s shoes, we have opted to rotate the role of Chair among the Committee.  Dave Vallis, who in an idle moment agreed to chair the meeting on the 23rd, will take the Chair for the next two months.   Tony Gowland has agreed to take on the role of Administrator, and Jan Davidson has agreed to be Treasurer.

We discussed how we will support volunteers in the absence of a Volunteer Coordinator.  In the long term, we think someone on the Committee should take on this role.  Meanwhile, we will maintain a database of volunteers and support them on a day-to-day basis.  Bill Mason has agreed to be a contact for volunteers in the Community Garden.  A handover meeting with Jessie Roberts, Jan Davidson and Tony Gowland will be arranged, in order to share the complexities of PLANT management.

We had a short general discussion about how we would like to see PLANT develop, as a volunteer-led organisation.  However, we were running out of time so we agreed to seek feedback from the Community Gardeners and the Volunteer Coordinator before making any decisions.  We also agreed that we would meet in a longer session to agree ways forward.

Finally, it almost goes without saying that we will very much miss Ali Butler, Volunteer Coordinator, and Kirsty Christopher, Community Gardener.  Both have been a terrific source of support to the Management Committee as well as extremely valuable members of staff.  We wish them both well for the future and really hope that they will stay in touch with us.

Two of our other staff have agreed to stay on and support PLANT Committee and volunteers on a sessional basis, 5 hours a week. Peter Christopher will advise on growing at the Community Garden and Kaska Hempel will continue helping with communications. Kaska will also volunteer at the Garden and continue as a contributor to a wider climate action in Tayport. We also have a new part-time staff member, Gillian Fyfe who is coordinating the new Tayport Talks project.

Below is a list of relevant contacts if you would like to get involved or lend a helping hand over the Spring and Summer:

Forest Garden, Plantlets and Fruit Tree Walk: Janice Gibson,

Tayport Community Garden: Bill Mason (in person at the Garden)

Communications, marketing and social media: Kaska Hempel,

Tayport Climate Action Group: Kaska Hempel,

Tayport Talks: Gillian Fyfe, 07724194057 or

Tayport Apple Juice: Will Whitfield,


People Learning About Nature in Tayport (PLANT) is a Tayport Community Trust subgroup which works to achieve TCT’s overall aim of promoting a vibrant and sustainable community, with improved quality of life, specifically through projects involving growing food and flowers, while enhancing Tayport’s natural environment. A key aim is to establish a community garden. Tayport Community Trust, Registered Charity No. SCO42558, Company No. SC350253, Registered Office: 10 Broad Street Tayport DD6 9AJ

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