AVA Blog

The Vinery, Banff

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by Heather McKay,
vinery greenhouse selfieAVA Development Officer, specialising in Mental Health & Wellbeing

What a wonderful November day we had, visiting The Vinery in Banff. Claire McCaffery-Clarke (AVA Strategic Development Officer, Mental Wellbeing Partnerships) and I were invited along by Clare Bancroft, Project Lead at The Vinery, to see around the place and hear what they do.

Clare welcomed us into the kitchen and community area, and it was instantly cosy, welcoming and friendly. There was a buzz in the place with people chatting, and the chef busy at work preparing some delicious smelling soup. We were treated to a lovely coffee while we learned about the history of the building. The kitchen and community area were once the residence of a gardener for Duff House, and his journals from his time there back in vinery kitchen 11873-74 were recovered in America and sent back to Duff House to be kept as a piece of history.

The building is warm, modern and beautiful and it’s hard to picture it as the derelict building it had been for years before it was converted into The Vinery. Various groups were booked to be coming in throughout the day, including a “Bit of Banter” where people enjoy a hot drink, some board games, and of course a good blether!

Clare took us round to the gardens, set in the original walled garden for Duff House. The greenhouse is separated into two halves – one section is used for growing all kinds of vegetables and herbs, and the other provides a peaceful space for things like mindfulness sessions, tai chi and children’s vinery activities 1after-school activities.

The gardening group arrived while we were there and the conversations with the members of the group were truly inspiring. One lady said, “This place is the best thing that has ever happened to me.” Another group member proudly showed us the onions, garlic, herbs and other vegetables that he is lovingly nourishing in the greenhouse and out in the garden.

We were delighted to hear about the wonderful activities The Vinery is offering, and their plans for adding more opportunities for their community. We can’t wait to see what the future holds!

The Vinery is a community space managed by Aberdeen Foyer, vinery walled garden 1and it officially opened its doors in August 2022. Visit their website The Vinery | Aberdeen Foyer to find out more.




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