The University's volunteer-led gardening and research project has received funding from the Scottish Government to help tackle climate change.

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The Lions’ Gate Garden

A birds-eye view of herbs to be planted in the Lions' Gate garden The University’s Merchiston campus is home to a remarkable volunteer-led project that blends together academic research, environmental sustainability and a love of gardening: the Lions’ Gate Garden.

Named after the iconic Lions perched on top of the gateposts to this part of campus, the Lions’ Gate Garden is the brainchild of ENU School of Computing Research Fellow and Lecturer, Callum Egan. He saw how a previously undeveloped part of the site could, with time and care, provide garden, allotment, outdoor laboratory, venue, performance, re-wilding, and relaxation space.

The Garden has developed rapidly since it was established and has recently been given a boost by the award of much coveted Keep Scotland Beautiful Community Climate Asset Funding thanks to a successful bid from the Edinburgh Napier Students Association (ENSA) working in partnership with the University’s Development team.

The Community Climate Asset Fund (CCAF) is a Scottish Government fund, administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, and provides funding to community-based organisations to help tackle climate change as we accelerate our just transition to a net zero society. At the Lions’ Gate this focuses on building the Gardens as a community resource, lowering local CO2 through growing produce and spreading the assets needed to do this to every part of the University

Gardens at every campus

A key part of the bid was the inclusion of materials to either set-up or enhance the garden sites at both Sighthill and Craiglockhart, providing extra materials, planters, seeds and trees for each site.

At Sighthill, this has added to the resources available to the Sighthill Garden Club and at Craiglockhart the trees will form a mini-orchard being incorporated into the new “Thinking Walk” linking planting, the environment and mental health.

Volunteer focus

A group of volunteers, including ENSA Office Bearers, working in the GardenThe Lions’ Gate Garden has a fantastic network of volunteers and supporters, even reaching as far afield as San Francisco, USA. The Garden’ projects are all volunteer-led and with the arrival of better weather more and more volunteers are stepping forward to help make use of the Community Climate Asset Funding.

The Student Futures Placement team have dedicated several afternoons to the project and outgoing ENSA President Ankit Duggal has put his accumulated annual leave time after a crazily busy year into working on the Gardens. The Development and Alumni Relations team will be taking the lead on planting the orchard at Craiglockhart later in June and members of staff from across the University will be involved in everything from painting to constructing permaculture-inspired Hugel beds.

The strength of the volunteering response suggests that after over a year of separation because of the pandemic, our community is craving reconnection and is coming together around nature as a way to do this, precisely the goals set out for the Community Climate Asset Fund at the outset.

Find out more...

Community Climate Asset Fund

The CCAF is Scottish Government fund, administered by Keep Scotland Beautiful, and it was announced on 8 January 2021 that 279 community-based organisations from across Scotland had been awarded more than £3.2 million of funding to tackle climate change. 

Further details can be found at

Published June 2021