Last week I enjoyed spending the morning at Invergowrie Primary School to speak to the children in their classrooms about plans to improve their local play area in Invergowrie Memorial Park in the next year.
The children told me what they thought of the park and what was missing, what would make it better, how often they visited the park and how they travelled there. We also talked about how we could make it more accessible for people with disabilities.
I used my flash cards to prompt discussion on their favourite types of play as it’s important to understand how they like to play before deciding what equipment would help them enjoy their time at the park. Top things to do in order of priority were playing on logs and boulders, climbing, ball games, sliding , playing on mounds and slopes, adventure trails and sledging.
Some of the children had already been thinking of ideas for the park and I came back to the office with a pile of great drawings. The children were all excited about possible improvements and keen to give me their ideas. I said I would keep in touch with the children on progress and get back to them if there were any decisions on equipment and layout we needed help with.
As well as this there is great interest from the local community. Invergowrie and Kingoodie Community Group was officially constituted in January 2018 after around 18 months of public meetings and people coming together to talk about how they want to improve their villages.
At the top of their agenda is improvements to the park. They are looking at doing their own fundraising for park improvements such as enhanced play equipment, community growing space, additional signage and interpretation highlighting the park’s historical significance.
They are keen to improve a much loved community space and also to bring the local community together. Invergowrie Memorial Park is at the heart of their villages being the only public green space, children’s play equipment space and having the villages’ war memorial.
I worked with the group to carry out a public consultation about the park in 2017 which had over 160 responses. By the far the biggest response to what could be improved was play equipment (88.5% of respondents) but benches, bins and flowers/plants all featured highly too.
This week, I had the pleasure of spending the morning at Murthly Primary School where I had been invited by Mrs McCarthy the Headteacher to come and speak to the children about plans to improve their local play area at Broompark Crescent.
The morning started off with speaking in front of the whole school at their assembly where the children told me all about what they thought of the park, what other parks they liked to play in and why and their favourite memories of being in the park. They were all excited about possible improvements and keen to give me their ideas.
After Assembly, I spent time with each of the classes. I had some flash cards to prompt discussion on their favourite types of play as it’s important to understand how they like to play before deciding what equipment would help them enjoy their time at the park. Top things to do by the Primary 1’s and 2’s were to have a tree house with a slide and things to jump over. However the Primary 3 and 4 class preferred logs and boulders to clamber over and things to climb. The older children in Primary 6 and 7 loved adventure trails, climbing and running. The children also said they would like more plants and trees.
The play area is due to be improved next year so I said I would keep in touch with the children on progress and get back to them if there were any decisions on equipment and layout we needed help with.
This year, Ericht Allotment Association was formed by a group of volunteers. Community Greenspace helped out with some advice including ideas, land searches, example constitutions and links to other allotment sites and groups to get the group started.
Since then the group have been offered 3 possible allotment sites and are about to sign a lease for one of them. The fantastic location in the Blairgowrie area, is still top secret but will be a challenge to clear and use as can be seen from the photo.
Community Greenspace are able to help groups who would like to set up community allotments and provide advice and support for things like finding land, securing a lease, becoming a constituted group, allotment rules, site design, soil testing, planning permission and funding.
For further information see our webpage: http://www.pkc.gov.uk/allotments
Fingers and toes were crossed last night by BIG (Blackford Improvement Group) supporters as Blackford Community Council discussed whether to award the group funds to improve the village play park. This funding was the final piece of the jigsaw that if awarded would mean a bigger and better play park could be built.
Blackford School Parent Council came up with the idea back in 2009 and it has been talked about since then. In 2015 I helped the newly formed BIG group carry out workshops with the whole school, so the children could decide what they wanted. This was followed up by a community questionnaire. Since then plans have been drawn up by Steven our Landscape Architect, discussed, revised and many funding applications completed by BIG.
Amazingly after much publicity by BIG, 70 people, including lots of children arrived at the Community Council meeting last night. After listening to a wonderful presentation from BIG, the Community Council voted to approve the funding application!
So now it’s full steam ahead to try and get the new play park built this year. Congratulations to BIG for all their hard work and dedication to the project!
In July 2016 Alyth was hit with devastating floods. Many people had to move out of their homes, businesses were affected and footbridges were washed away.
I was working with Alyth Development Trust and Alyth Community Council at the time on plans to improve Alyth square when this happened. In fact, after a great deal of community engagement, we were about to sign off on the final plans for improvements that very week. However with the flooding events, plans were put in hold.
Deciding on how to replace the footbridges was a decision the community had to be involved in as in order to raise the height of the bridges meant the steps and ramps up to them would take up more room. Putting 3 bridges in would mean the loss of 6 much needed parking spaces. In partnership with Alyth Development Trust I organised a community ballot so that people could have their say. Once the voting papers were counted the decision to only replace 2 bridges was announced and the Council could get the final designs drawn up and order the bridges to be fabricated. There was much excitement on Sunday as the bridges were finally hoisted into place and they should be ready for use soon!
The other good news this week is after a great deal of hard work by Alyth Development Trust in partnership with the Council and Community Council, completing many funding application and organising many community engagement events, it looks like all the funding is almost in place to carry out the improvements to the square. Watch this space for further news!
The Alyth community have to be praised for their resilience, hard work and vision for the future.
Looking back over the last year it has been a pleasure to engage with so many enthusiastic community groups who are interested in improving their green spaces and public spaces. A good example is the people in Auchterarder who have already developed a community run allotment site and now hope to raise money to improve their public park and sports pavilion.
Images of Auchterarder Public Park & Sport Pavilion at the moment, a community engagement event and Auchterarder Allotments
Other examples are Alyth Development Trust who have worked tirelessly to try and raise funds to improve their town centre and create an events space. Two other community run allotments are in the pipeline in the Blairgowrie/Rattray and Alyth areas and both the Blackford and St Fillans communities are working hard to improve play facilities in their villages. There are many more communities working equally as hard throughout the Perth & Kinross area.
I am in awe of the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers I work with and would like to thank them for all their hard work.
Over 350 events were held in our parks during the last year and many groups make use of our green spaces weekly for activities such as walking, running and cycling.
Perth & Kinross Council have their own running club for employees, Jog PKC. This group meets every Wednesday evening at the North Inch in Perth. This week some of the members raised hundreds of pounds doing a sponsored run in aid of Cancer Research Kids and Teens.
If you would like to organise an event or a regular activity in a park there is lots of useful information on our website: http://www.pkc.gov.uk/article/2749/Organising-outdoor-events
Last Wednesday I was asked by Auchterarder Community Sports Association to help them facilitate a workshop in the Institute to find out peoples ideas for making one of the parks in Auchterarder better. The park, near the hospital, is known by many names including the Public Park, Top Park and Primrose Park.
Before the meeting we put together an online and paper survey to canvas people’s ideas and were overwhelmed with responses. 226 people completed the survey giving lots of great ideas.
32 people attended the workshop last week where they wrote and drew on plans of the park provided by Steven our Landscape Architect and discussed ideas. There was a great buzz of enthusiastic discussion in the room.
9 people volunteered to form a working group to take the ideas forward. The plan is for Auchterarder Community Sports Association to find funding for a feasibility study using all the ideas gathered. So watch this space for the next instalment on improving this park!
The Community Greenspace Team were out in force a couple of weeks ago working on the Black Spout paths in the Pitlochry area under the guidance of Greenspace Ranger Jeannie Grant.
Jeannie took us to Black Spout Woods for a team task. There was three elements to the task to make sure it was all inclusive for all abilities and health conditions:
- Path maintenances by clearing encroaching vegetation to make the paths easier to walk.
- We followed the management plans on the Archeological site to help and preserve the site by preventing excessive growth of bush and tree species, which in turn makes it easier to see the outline.
- The final task was a heavy duty task to improve drainage on the core paths
It was hard work but great to learn more about what’s involved in conservation tasks and the kinds of things volunteers get involved in as well as learning more about the people we work with.
More information about the path network around Pitlochry can be found here: http://www.pkc.gov.uk/article/12058/Pitlochry-path-network
Planning plays a vital part in shaping the places we live, work and play. From how we move around an area to the places where we socialise; planning affects us all every day.
Perth & Kinross Council are currently preparing the Proposed Local Development Plan, which sets out our proposals for plans and policies that will guide development in Perth and Kinross. Therefore, we are keen to get photographs from local residents, communities or visitors showing us an insight into any area of Perth and Kinross. The winning image would form the front cover of our Proposed Plan, which is due to be published in December 2016.
Closing Date: You have until Friday 26 August 2016 to get your submission(s) to us! The winning image will be selected in early September.
Details required: Name, contact details, a brief description of the image, and the date and location of the photo.
Email images to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- A maximum of four pictures per person will be accepted.
- Entries should be your original work.
- Children can enter with the permission of a parent or guardian.
- Entrants should not be professional photographers.