When Vanessa from a Glasgow based CIC called Gathering Ground approached Greencity to request a cash donation towards a community meal she was planning, we thought we could go one better than that and we offered her this month’s entire donation budget of £500 worth of free, healthy food. Her idea was to host a heart-warming community meal for members of Central West Integration Network (CWIN) and as this ties in perfectly with the reasons we give out our monthly donations, we were really pleased to get involved. This special occasion was not to be just about good food; it was about bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds, including asylum seekers, refugees, migrant workers, and black and minority ethnic communities in Glasgow.



1. Tell us about how it all started and a little more about the Gathering Ground?

Gathering Ground is a food-led community space, garden and café. We are located in Hamiltonhill in the beautiful Old Basin House. An 18th century lock-keepers house, our building sits proudly on the Forth & Clyde Canal. Our aim is to use food as a platform to strengthen the community, build connections & inspire people to engage with good food. We host a wide range of informative and engaging food-focused events which celebrate diversity and collaboration, including supper clubs, workshops, courses, talks, storytelling, and music nights. Gathering Ground is founded by (myself) Vanessa Gilpin who started the organisation in 2019. I wanted to see food being used as a way to build connected and resilient communities. The growth of the organisation has been very organic and since we opened the space publicly in May 2023 we have been just enjoying getting to know our local community and building our foundations.


2.Can you tell us a little bit about the Community Meals at Gathering Ground?

Community Meals are a highlight in our calendar. Our vision for 2024 is to run 4 community meals (one each season). We hosted our first community meal in September 2023 and it was fantastic, I think we had over 150 people attend across the day, luckily the weather played ball so we could utilise the indoor and outdoor space. We had music, crafts, delicious food and free ice cream! Our space had a limited capacity and the weather isn’t so predictable in these months. So, for our Spring & Winter community meals this year we decided that we would instead partner two local charities to invite their members over for dinner. Historically our space is a house - it's been inhabited, people have opened its front doors for family and friends and shared the specialness of a home cooked meal. We want to create the same feeling for our Spring & Winter community meals. So we are doing just that, a lovingly made, three course meal (dessert is a must) with some live music to end. With a focus on placing value, care & just simple good humanness with our guests…oh and delicious home cooked food of course. Our Summer & Autumn Community meals will return to their open house format.


3. What other interesting things are going on at Gathering Ground?

In May & June we will be launching our ‘Made to Move’ program. This is a program of movement based workshops and classes that will be hosted in our space. From Yoga to Family Fitness we will be putting on a whole range of activities to get you moving. As an accessible space we also have some specific classes for wheelchair users or those less able to move. Plus all classes are free thanks for funding from European Capital of Sport Legacy Fund. You can find out the full program at www.gatheringground.org/madetomove.


4.Tell us a bit more about any other things you do to support the local community.

We have a community garden where we grow vegetables & flowers. We also run volunteering sessions twice a week for people who want to engage with growing or cooking


5. Is there anything members of the public can do to help support your organisation?

Come and visit us for some food or a coffee! We are open Wed-Fri 9-3PM or Sat & Sunday. 9-4PM

If you’d like to get stuck in with cooking or growing you can sign up to be a volunteer by following this link: www.gatheringground.org/get-involved./

Follow us on Instagram to stay in the loop: www.instagram.com/gatheringground.


6. If you could invite three people (living or deceased) to one of your community meals, who would they be and why?

Beyonce - well that would just be fabulous

Bob Marley - To perform of course

My Nan - she was the best cook I know

Jesus - Examples community well

David Attenbrough - so he could share all his stories

Dolly Parton - for a community hoedown ha!


Thanks to Vanessa for answering our questions!

Find out more about Gathering Ground at www.gatheringground.org.