netw rk bulletin autumn 2013
for TCV Scotland’s community Network
inset: julie campbell
A community garden taking shape in West Lothian (see page 10) and one already well rooted, right, in South Ayrshire (page 4)
Join in, feel good 1
Amanda Joaquin with an enthusiastic group of junior geo-cachers
Ochils Landscape Partnership celebrates a busy summer Having laid on a whole month of free events, walks and talks in June as part of Ochils Fest, with Schools Day and Ochils Fest Day as its two centrepieces, the Ochils Landscape Partnership kept up the momentum of community events and engagement right through the summer. The body’s programme of conservation volunteering continued in August with a maintenance session at Muckhart Nature Park and a Rhododendron Bash at the Ochils Woodland Park. “Due to the invaluable help of our local volunteers these two sessions produced visible results which the local community can now come out and see for themselves, “ said Amanda Joaquin, Volunteer Development Officer for the Ochils Landscape Partnership. “Public areas like Muckhart Nature Park and the Ochils Woodland Park are for everyone to enjoy – they are a vital part of what living in the Hillfoots is all about and so we want to improve and maintain them as much as we can.”
“We are continuing to offer volunteering and training sessions as part of our remit to implement twenty two local projects in the Hillfoots area,” added Amanda. “There are still lots of opportunities to get involved to benefit the local environment.” “Volunteers who perhaps want to try something new or different and become involved in environmental conservation will gain a great deal from one of the sessions,” said Amanda. “There are all sorts of volunteering sessions still to come, not just for environmentalists but others involving creative media tasks such as research, interpretation, photography and writing copy for our website. To get involved, register your interest by going online at www.ochils.org.uk.” Amanda has also started an Environmental Monitoring Programme which will involve photographing the environment on a particular date each month or at the beginning of each week – and getting her volunteers to write a brief description on what they see, hear, smell and touch. “You can choose where or what you want to photograph,” she said. “We do have a list of key sites within the Ochils Landscape Partnership area on our website at www. ochils.org.uk. Subjects could include the
Ochil Hills themselves, or the glens, parks or burns. You could choose a site on the River Devon, or on a path, or you might prefer to monitor a particular tree or group of wildflowers. Choose somewhere that is local to you and easy to access. All we ask is that you do it regularly and get back to us with your information. We will upload the images you provide us with onto the website.” “Regular monitoring is essential to chart climate change, wear and erosion,” she continued, “it will become evident that there are some pressure sites, for example, in the Hillfoots area such as overused paths and flooding areas, so this type of monitoring will help us protect and improve our local environment in the future. The Environmental Monitoring Volunteers – or Environmental ‘Detectives’ as they can also be known – will effectively create a changing bank of images and information which can be used to track the changes across the seasons.” In the past few months Amanda has already taken a team of volunteers into Tillicoultry Upper and Lower Kirkyards to carry out a survey investigating the type of flowers, plants, insects, birds and mammals found there. Data are being collated and
“It’s an excellent activity for families and children, but we tend to find that it’s the children who are best at finding the caches!” logged ahead of work starting on the new Historic Kirkyards Trail in the Ochils and Hillfoots which will offer local people a chance to enjoy greater interpretation and access to their historic kirkyards. The Kirkyards are a fascinating way to learn more about the past and the people who lived and died in these villages.
Active in Ayrshire Between June and September people in South Ayrshire had the opportunity to pick up new skills to help them organise activities to enhance the local environment. The keen learners took part in a training programme covering topics such as gardening for wildlife, group leadership, project fundraising, outdoor games for youngsters, food growing, and recording local biodiversity. And to complement the learning sessions several events have been organised for folk to get some hands-on experience of environmental projects.
“The whole day was great fun, well delivered with lots of great ideas and information to take away with me. Thank you!”
And finally, having already been featured on BBC Radio Scotland’s popular ‘Out of Doors’ programme, the new geo-caching trail created by Amanda and her team at the Woodlands Park is still very much in the spotlight. Having already hosted several completely free ‘Introduction to Geo-Caching’ sessions since June, another introductory session was held in August. “These sessions explain the main aims of geo-caching, which is an outdoor treasure hunting game,” said Amanda. “The aim is to use GPS-enabled devices, or just plain old pen and paper, to follow clues and discover caches, which are containers, hidden around the Trail. They can be very small and carefully concealed in the undergrowth or general environment – you have to look carefully as not all of them are plastic boxes – we have more unusual caches which can be twigs and pine cones for example. It’s an excellent activity for families and children, but we tend to find that it’s the children who are best at finding the caches! We will continue to offer introductory sessions so that as many people as possible can be encouraged to get out there and geocache!” The Ochils landscape Partnership brings together twenty local partners including The Conservation Volunteers; Alva Glen Heritage Trust; six community councils; Scottish Land & Estates; and Stirling University, with the distinct aim of offering local people greater opportunity to interact with their unique landscape. Over the coming year the Ochils Landscape Partnership is working in the Hillfoots area to deliver twenty two separate projects – one of which has been to create this fantastic Geo-caching trail. Another one will come later in the area. For further information on any of these projects, you can contact Amanda Joaquin on 01259 452520, or e-mail her at email@example.com.
“A wonderful group passing on interesting and useful information.”
“Excellent, well presented course. Handouts exceedingly useful”
“A very enjoyable and educational day”
“Thanks so much. It was brilliant training, really useful and practical. I thoroughly enjoyed it” The training programme was organised by The Conservation Volunteers with funding from South Ayrshire Community Planning Partnership and South Ayrshire Council. Many thanks to everyone who participated – we hope the knowledge gained will help in the greening of South Ayrshire. Well, parts of it at least!
GIRVAN COMMUNITY GARDEN
n recent years dedicated groups of people across Scotland have been turning derelict and underused spaces into attractive and productive community gardens. A great example is located in
Staff members Jim McClymont and Julie Campbell take a break in ‘The Living Room’.
Girvan on the South Ayrshire coast. Here is what the folk at Girvan Community Garden have to say about their inspiring project:
You will receive a warm and friendly welcome when you visit Girvan Community Garden which is neatly settled behind sandstone walls next to Knockcushan Gardens and Aviary, just across from the harbour. The community garden is seven years old this year and throughout this time volunteers have worked their magic to create a wonderful, vibrant space. As you come into the garden you will walk up a meandering path full of woodland shrubs until you reach the wooden handmade gates. As you walk through the gates what strikes you most is how colourful everything is and how much of a contrast it is to the trim and neat garden of the Aviary. The community garden has a pond and wildlife area to encourage bees, butterflies and birds and any other insects and animals to visit. In fact the whole place is a haven for them. The insects can opt to stay in the ‘bug hotel’ if they wish! Wild and native flowers are grown to encourage these pollinators as much as possible.
Two large raised beds are used to grow the herbs and vegetables and any horticultural trials that the garden takes part in. Fruit trees and shrubs adorn the middle section of the garden where tayberries, apples and blueberries grow. Modest allotments are dotted about the garden and the produce is distributed amongst the volunteers who work them. The garden also boasts a ‘keyhole’ garden. This idea came from Lesotho in Africa which allows families to grow their own vegetables to eat and sell. The design is round and made with stones to form a raised bed. From above it looks like a keyhole shape, hence the name. Incorporated in the centre is a basket where compostable waste is placed. This small garden gets great results - everything grows twice as big! Girvan Community Garden is run by volunteers and with the help of a two year BIG Lottery funding package the Board of Directors has been able to employ two part-time staff members, Julie Campbell
One of the ‘regulars’, Etta Auld, checks how the peppers are doing.
and Jim McClymont. They have made an enormous difference in the continuation and development of the garden by encouraging new volunteers to the project; by working in local and rural primary and secondary schools; building bug hotels; teaching pupils about composting; and making and planting alpine troughs from old fish boxes. Other projects are delivered in surrounding villages that help to improve and enhance key environmental areas. The aim is to get South Carrick growing and to spread the ‘grow your own’ message. The garden offers activities throughout the year to encourage families to participate together in growing and learning. Events are also an important part of the garden year with the aim of promoting the garden and to encourage new volunteers and visitors. This summer has been very busy with visitors who have enjoyed looking at our summer installation called ‘The Living Room’ where an old sofa has been planted up. It is there to show people that you can grow in any type of container and that you don’t need a big garden.
The garden attracts vis itors from far and wide. He re are some comments from the visitors’ book:
This is just a snap shot of what goes on in Girvan Community Garden, so if you are ever in the area do pop in for a visit. If you would like to volunteer either as an individual or as a group get in touch and talk to us.
Volunteer Ward Higgins with some of the garden’s produce.
For more information visit: www.girvancommunitygarden.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org You can also Tweet us @girvangarden You will find us just off Knockcushan Street, Girvan KA26 9AG.
Local youngsters enjoying the garden with Daisy, the amazing rabbit sculpture.
Volunteers Dave Drummond (left) and Andrew Mulvihill doing what no gardener can escape from – weeding!
“Very pretty and peac eful. I love it and I think Gi rvan will too.” “A hidden gem.” “Very enlightening. I can see the educational va lue.” “Absolutely brilliant – great for adults and kids ali ke.”
Environmental and Community Leaders Training Programme October 2013 – March 2014 The Environmental and Community Leaders Training Programme includes a diverse range of ‘green’ learning opportunities with topics covering practical conservation, wildlife identification, group leadership, health and safety, volunteer management, fundraising, and using social media. Here is the programme until March 2014: Be Creative with your Willow Structures Tuesday 26 November Edinburgh...........................................£55
Building bird, bat, bug and hedgehog boxes using recycled materials Tuesday 17 December Edinburgh...........................................£55
Integrating Outdoor learning within the Curriculum for Excellence
2013 Identifying Fungi for Beginners Sunday 6 October Edinburgh.......................................... £50
Introduction to Pseudoscorpions Saturday 12 October Stirling................................................. £50
Natural Curriculum Friday 25 October Glasgow.............. Free sorry-FULL
Brushcutters and Trimmers (LANTRA) Thursday 31 October and Friday 1 November Stirling............................................... £228
Leadership for Community Groups November (to be confirmed) Edinburgh...........................................£25
Recording Biodiversity with Volunteers Wednesday 6 November Edinburgh......................................... Free
Introduction to Fundraising Thursday 7 November Stirling..................................................£25
Natural Play Monday 3 February Edinburgh.......................................... £50
Fundraising for Working with Schools and Outdoor Learning Thursday 6 February Location – To be confirmed......£25
First Aid at Work
Friday 17 January Perth and Kinross (TBC)........... £50
Bad Weather or Bad Clothing? Learning and Playing Outdoors in the Winter Tuesday 21 January Edinburgh...........................................£55
Natural Curriculum March (TBC) Aberdeen........................................... £50
Leadership Friday 7 March Glasgow...............................................£25
Wildlife Rangering for Teachers Monday 17 March
Protected Species Survey Techniques – Badgers Thursday 23 January Edinburgh...........................................£55
Mon 11 and Tues 12 November Dundee............................................... £50
Hedgecutting Thursday 14 November Stirling.............................sorry-FULL
Fundraising for Working with Young People Thursday 21 November Glasgow .............................................£25
Fundraising for Working with Young People 21 Nov
Introduction to Social Media Friday 22 November Edinburgh.......................................... £50
Willow Structures – Weaving and Harvesting
Friday 1 November Edinburgh...........................................£25
Monday 25 November Edinburgh...........................................£55
Up-to-date programme details are also listed in the monthly Community Network eBulletin which goes out at the start of each month. If you would like to receive the eBulletin contact email@example.com
Monday 10 until Wednesday 12 February Edinburgh....................................... £200
Join a TCV training event and enhance your environmental skills and knowledge.
To provisionally book your place on a course, or for up-to-date information and course details visit: http:// bit.ly/TCVScotlandTrg
Th a n k
The Environmental an d Community Leaders Training Programme merges key training opportunities provid ed by The Conservation Volunteers and other organisations belongin g to FEVA - Forum for Environmental Volunteering Activity www.feva-scotland.or g
Keeping Caol in Bloom
escribed as Highland Scotland’s largest village, Caol (pronounced Cool), lies three miles from Fort William with Ben Nevis as a backdrop and fine view across Loch Linnhe and along Loch Eil.
With adequate watering there can be a good show of flowers into October. And they’re not just easy on the eye for residents, providing as they do food and nectar for butterflies, bees and other insects.
Despite the grand setting some of the local residents thought the appearance of the village could be improved and so Caol in Bloom was established. That was in 1999 and since then the group has dedicated itself to enhancing the environment of the village and its population of just over 3,000 residents.
In addition to the effort put in by its own members the group receives help from the local Criminal Justice Service and Highland Council. School pupils also help out with the litter picks held in the village once or twice a year.
Caol in Bloom’s main activity is the planting out each year of flowers in dozens of hanging baskets, plus planting beds and tubs throughout the village, including the loch shore. These particular tubs were decorated with colourful designs by local school children – one way to get the local youngsters involved.
To further its aims Caol in Bloom is registered as a charity, and to raise money for plants and materials the group runs a weekly lottery in association with the Caol Regeneration Company. The group also receives funding from Highland Council, so with a little extra support such as this, local residents will continue to keep Caol in bloom.
Pictured above is John Warnock, TCV Scotland’s Wildflower Nursery Manager, explaining the finer points of growing wildflowers to Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change. The Minister was visiting the Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre in Grangemouth to launch the revised Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. Also pictured on the left is TCV volunteer Patrick Quigley whilst on the Minister’s left is Angus MacDonald, Falkirk East MSP, and Andrew Ormston of the Grow Wild project. After his discussion with John, the Minister and other guests were taken on a tour of the Jupiter site by staff from the Scottish Wildlife Trust who manage this inspiring example of urban nature. The strategy can be downloaded at www.scotland.gov.uk/ Resource/0042/00425276.pdf If your project needs some wildflowers why not contact John at Jupiter and see what he has on offer. Call John on 01324 471600 or 07764 655710 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a walk around Barrmill
Welcome to the following groups and organisations which have joined the Community Network in Scotland recently:
Two leaflets have been produced to highlight the walks in and around the village of Barrmill in North Ayrshire, as Fiona Fisher of the local conservation group explains:
Broompark Drive & Clayton Terrace Gardens Association (Glasgow) Cameron House Nursery School (Edinburgh) Gordon Community Woodland Trust (Borders) Greenlink Allotment Group (Motherwell) Melrose Historical and Archaeological Association (Borders) Oakwood Primary School (Glasgow) Pinewood School (West Lothian) Polbeth and West Calder Community Garden (West Lothian) Pollokshaws Area Network (Glasgow) River Earn Improvement Association (Perthshire) Scottish Golf Environment Group (St Andrews) Simply Local Kincardine (Clackmannanshire) The Friends of Kinneil (Bo’ness) The Vat Pack (South Queensferry)
The Barrmill Conservation Group is made up of over 30 volunteers from the small rural village of Barrmill, a mile and a half east of Beith. With the help of the North Ayrshire Ranger Service and many local supporters we have carried out some fantastic community projects. New volunteers are always welcome and we would encourage anyone interested to come along to the Barrmill Community Centre on the second Saturday of each month between 11am and 4pm. As well as getting to grips with nature and some healthy outdoor working we can offer a friendly welcome and a great lunch! If you would like to come and have a look at our work to date we have two new leaflets covering Barrmill Park and other walks around the area. For more details contact the staff at the Community Centre on 01505 500380, or have a look at our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/pages/Barrmill-Conservation-Group/341484515965412
The beautiful grounds of Redhall Walled Garden in Edinburgh were the ideal setting recently for a ‘Citizen Science’ training day organised by The Conservation Volunteers, involving dozens of countryside rangers, local authority staff and community group leaders. All were keen to discover how they can engage their volunteers and members of the public in Citizen Science projects, in which anyone can gather important information about the biodiversity (or nature) which exists all around us. During the training day the participants learned about the different recording techniques available, what national surveys to take part in, the guidance and support they provide and how the data gathered is handled. Citizen Science is a term used to describe public participation in scientific research. Across the world, volunteers gather a wide range of data
Citizen Science training
“The information gathered through Citizen Science contributes to the bigger picture of our wildlife knowledge…” vital to protecting and improving our environment. The key message of Citizen Science is that anyone can help identify and record the birds, insects, plants and abundance of wildlife species inhabiting
our nature reserves, gardens, parks, woods, greenspaces, ponds and waterways. The training day was organised by Stevie Jarron, Citizen Science Co-ordinator with The Conservation Volunteers Scotland, who said: “The information gathered through Citizen Science contributes to the bigger picture of our wildlife knowledge and can help shape our conservation priorities, both locally and nationally. It was great to see everyone go away from Redhall with the knowledge and confidence that they could organise surveys and wildlife recording events with their own volunteers and the general public.”
Edinburgh Mela Visitors to this year’s Edinburgh Mela, held on Leith Links, had the opportunity to become Citizen Scientists during their visit. Youngsters especially were encouraged to see what wildlife they could see within the park. And at the TCV information stall, having a close-up look at pond life proved very popular. Over the Mela weekend hundreds of Citizen Science packs were handed out for families to take home and see what wildlife they can discover in their own gardens and local greenspaces.
Outside now! NOELIA COLLADO-SALLAS
TCV’s Noelia (right) and LINKES youngsters prepare for their bug hunt in Knightswood Park. The ever-popular pond dipping, at Mugdock Country Park.
ver the summer, youngsters in the Knightswood area of Glasgow had the opportunity to explore their local environment as part of the youth club run by the local LINKES* project. With the help of Noelia Collado-Sallas and other staff from The Conservation Volunteers, the children, mainly aged between 5 and 10, took part in a number of outdoor games and activities designed to get them upclose and personal with their local wildlife and nature. Two visits were made to Knightswood Park which is just across the road from the flats where LINKES is based and where many of the children live. They
come from a variety of backgrounds and nationalities including Scottish, African, Polish, Albanian and Iranian, and many of them belong to Glasgow’s black and minority ethnic, asylum seeker and refugee communities. During their visits to the park the youngsters became ‘Citizen Scientists’ and went on bug hunts to see what insect species they could discover. Their finds included butterflies, moths, craneflies, bumblebees and an earwig! The youngsters also went a little further afield on a day trip to Mugdock Country Park, near Milngavie. Here they enjoyed pond dipping, arts and crafts, a tree trail, and a scavenger hunt.
What the youngsters said: Enjoyed: “Playing the centipede game” “I liked the bug catching” “I love leaves” “I liked being in the park” “I liked capturing insects with the net” Didn’t enjoy: “Playing the centipede game” “I do not like walking” “Grass” * www.linkes.org.uk
Discover Me Outdoor play can be vital in the healthy development of children, and families benefit too. That’s the key messages of ‘Discover Me’, a programme of activities which The Conservation Volunteers will be running over the coming year for families in Glasgow to ‘learn, play, explore, and discover’.
Discover Me is funded by Inspiring Scotland’s Go2Play programme. Further details at: www.inspiringscotland.org.uk For further information about Discover Me, contact Julie Grant, Education Development Officer on 07917 436 476, or e-mail email@example.com
Through increased contact with the natural world and local environment Discover Me will promote the health and wellbeing of children and families, particularly those belonging to minority groups, including the refugee and asylum seeker communities. TCV will work with key partner organisations to engage with these communities and run outdoor family play sessions in nearby community greenspaces. These sessions will incorporate conservation tasks, environmental education, creative play, and Forest School activities.
The importance of outdoor play was highlighted in July during National Play Day. Throughout the UK, events were held to get children outside and active. On Glasgow Green a number of organisations, including The Conservation Volunteers, laid on a range of fun activities for hundreds of enthusiastic youngsters. TCV encouraged its young helpers to become ‘Citizen Scientists’ and look for the wildlife on the Green.
Polbeth and West Calder Community Garden scio The Girvan Community Garden featured on page 4 is now well established whilst the garden lying between the communities of Polbeth and West Calder, in West Lothian, is still in its early stages. Here, in their own words, is the garden’s story so far:
How did it all start? The roots of the garden are in 2009, when Lisa Drinnan and Judith McDermid, now Co-convenors of Polbeth and West Calder Community Garden SCIO*, worked on a project for the Eco Committee at Polbeth Nursery School. The nursery staff are passionate about growing food and healthy eating, and the children are encouraged and assisted to grow vegetables in the raised beds and to eat the produce. Following an inspiring visit to Ladywell Nursery School, the Eco group, made up of parents, community members and nursery staff, began a ‘Recycled Bottle Shelter’ project. Families from the nursery and St Mary’s RC Primary School donated over 800 plastic bottles whilst local businesses donated building materials. In summer 2009, led by Judith, a group of largely unskilled but enthusiastic helpers successfully built a large openfronted bottle greenhouse in the grounds of the nursery. The nursery celebrated the completion of the project with a well-attended Open Day and received coverage in the local press. The group were empowered by their achievement and wished to work together on another garden project. This was our first indicator that there was an interest in and desire for this kind of communal outdoor activity. Judith and Lisa had the opportunity to speak to other parents and children in seed planting exercises at the nursery in 2010, 2011 and 2012. We had heard about their aspirations to learn the skills required to grow their own food and have access to a local greenspace where these skills could be shared and where their children could enjoy being in a natural environment.
How did you get funding for the project? In 2011 we applied to the Scottish Community Foundation (now Foundation Scotland) for support and mentoring through their Our Community Our Future (OCOF) programme and were delighted to be chosen. We were provided with a mentor and a grant award of £5000 for setting up our organisation. We have also been awarded £1000 through Sports Relief towards our Children’s Garden and we successfully applied to the Coalfields Regeneration Fund to support our Green Gym activities.
Have you had resistance to your aims and objectives? We have not encountered any resistance to what we are trying to do. In fact we have been surprised and delighted by the enthusiasm and interest across the board – so many people want to learn more about gardening, growing and other outdoor pursuits. Parents want their children to spend more time outside, children and teenagers want access to a more exciting environment than a playpark, older members of the community want to use their time in a productive way and pass on the skills and knowledge they have to others, and schools are desperate to access quality greenspace for their outdoor learning activities. People want to be more active, grow and eat their own fruit and veg, help regenerate and reinvigorate abandoned spaces in their local area, and meet and socialise with people from their community. A community garden offers all this and more – even though when we first set out, we’d never even heard of a community garden!
Have there been barriers to achieving your aims and objectives? We have experienced barriers in our approaches to the local authority, at various stages. Initially we didn’t know who to speak to, or who could support us, but once we got beyond this we found a lot of support from both elected members and council staff. Having this support, particularly from local councillors, also meant that the desires and aspirations of local people for the site were taken seriously. There has been concern expressed within the council about the risks of a local voluntary group taking on the site. We understand that the council see it as a valuable resource and need to be confident that we can run the site and manage financially. However, it was also important for us to demonstrate that we add a significant amount of value, not just in terms of our voluntary time and effort, but in the many benefits to the local community and wider links such as the Scottish Rural Agricultural College, whose Garden Design students came out and designed our Children’s Garden as part of their HND course. There have also been barriers around the lease – the council have their own inhouse solicitors, whereas we don’t have the expertise in this area, or the finances to employ a legal representative. Instead we have been fortunate enough to receive free legal advice from both the Land Advisory Service and a local solicitor we approached, who gave us the information and confidence to go ahead and negotiate the lease ourselves.
The old market garden site between the villages presented itself as the ideal location as there are areas for growing and extensive areas for outdoor play and activities.
Do you work with other groups? We have approached, spoken to, met with and involved groups locally such as the schools, youth groups, Scouts, community councils, gala committees, LETS, local businesses and national organisations, such as the ever-helpful Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens. Many of these are now represented on our management group. We have also had great support from our local Community Greenspace Officer, Becky Plunkett of West Lothian Council.
What are your future plans? 2013 has seen us conclude negotiations with West Lothian Council, work towards our KeyStone Award (for people who manage community buildings etc), and receive our SCIO charitable status. At our AGM we signed the 5 year lease and began planning for the year ahead. Now the hard work begins in earnest! The building on site requires a lot of work to make it a useable base for our activities and the site is completely overgrown with saplings, needs paths cleared/made, fences mended, existing beds made ready for planting, raised beds constructed and our Children’s Garden created with funding we were awarded from Sports Relief. We also plan to have school groups on site, carry out bio-surveys to establish what flora and fauna we have, and start a programme of gardening, workshops and events. At the same time, we will be expanding our trading arm activities, which are helping to fund the work we do, selling dried goods and homemade produce.
Do you have any advice for other community groups wanting to work in their local environment? Get the community behind you – speak to as many people, groups, organisations and businesses as you can in your local area – we have been amazed by the support that is out there. We had information stalls at local gala day and festival events in summer 2011, and an Open day in 2012, to let people know about the site and what a ‘Community Garden’ was. We asked people if they liked the idea and what they would do with the land. The responses from every age group were wide-ranging and really expanded our thinking about what was possible. It gave us confidence that this is what the local community wanted and was something they would value, use and benefit from. There are great resources too, so you don’t need to re-invent the wheel! Our first port of call was to the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (www. farmgarden.org.uk). Introduce yourself to your local elected members and invite them to your meetings and events – at our Open Day we were delighted to have local councillors, MSPs and our MP in attendance.
Any other advice? Don’t give up! There are times when you hit a brick wall, or are presented with what seems like an insurmountable challenge you don’t have the answers and it can feel very daunting. The important thing we have learned is, first and foremost, share it within the group – some may feel the same or can give support and reassurance, whilst others may have a different perspective, or a great way round the problem, or know someone who can help. It’s amazing how even in a small group what resources, experience and connections can be found.
Community Green Gyms Any volunteer-run conservation or gardening group can become a Green Gym with the support of The Conservation Volunteers. TCV has found that the main motivation for the groups involved is to attract new volunteers by promoting the health benefits of their activities. TCV provides local support to the group according to their needs and, as a starting point, a TCV Project Officer will meet with the group to assess their training and support needs. A support plan is then drawn up to include training courses for the group members and support sessions from the Project Officer. The group is then asked to sign the Green Gym Community Group Agreement which sets out levels of support and commitment from both parties including reporting on volunteer workdays and practical achievements, as well as the monitoring of health improvements through Green Gym questionnaires. For further information about Community Green Gyms contact David Graham, Development Manager (Health) at 07764 655715, or firstname.lastname@example.org
*SCIO – Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation
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Engaging Communities around Food & Sustainability
Wednesday 23rd October 10am – 3pm Whitmuir Organic Farm, Lamancha, near Penicuik Free (including lunch)
Scotland in partnership with the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and is hosted by Whitmuir Organic Farm.
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This free event is aimed at anyone in the environmental sector and beyond who would like to find out more about engaging communities and changing behaviour through food and sustainability. The event is co-ordinated by TCV
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2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland celebrating Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes, wildlife and biodiversity. Scots and visitors alike are encouraged to discover or rediscover the natural attractions of the country and take part in an exciting programme of events. For further information visit: www.visitscotland.com/about/nature-geography/year-ofnatural-scotland
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