What we set out to achieve
The project will deliver a number of integrated activities which actively engage people with green infrastructure. The Garnock Connections area is based around the catchment of the River Garnock and has the river at its heart. In this post industrial area lie many, largely unknown, sites of natural significance which face mounting challenges. There is an opportunity to engage local people in the active management and conservation of these resources, for the benefit of the people, wildlife and green infrastructure of the Garnock Connections area.
The project will improve the scale and effectiveness of heritage volunteering across the area. A particular focus will be citizen science, providing inspiration, training, events and resources to increase the number of people actively engaged in wildlife recording. Tis will contribute to the knowledge and effective management of wildlife and habitats across the area.
We will work with communities to develop self-guided themed heritage trails, that will encourage active exploration, informing and inspiring local people about the rich natural and cultural heritage on their doorstep and promoting pride and stewardship.
The project will also enable improvements to local nature reserves on the edge of urban settlement, creating vital new beach dune and woodland habitats which will benefit local communities and wildlife.
Where did the idea for the project come from?
The project was driven by local people, community groups and NGO’s who demonstrated a passion and demand for landscape-scale action to conserve and enhance natural and cultural heritage. The proposed activities form part of the wider Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership scheme, that will be delivered from 2018 – 22, with a legacy of benefits stretching long into the future.
How communities have helped us develop our ideas
During 2017 a number of community engagement and consultation events were held across the Garnock Connections area to understand what people value about their landscape and heritage, what they would like to see happen and how they would like to get involved. These included presentations, workshops, drop-in events, guided heritage walks and discussions with community groups and individuals. Following a call for projects, we also received over 100 project concept notes from a range of community groups and organisations.
How our project fits into the bigger picture
This project forms part of the wider Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership Scheme. The activities included form an important component of community based activity within this landscape scale programme of work, which includes projects by third sector and public sector organisations, as well as community driven activities. The Garnock Connections staff team will play an important role in linking these aspects of the bigger picture and the Steering Group and Board, including SNH and Local Authority representation, will ensure a good fit with other initiatives and activities in the area.
Where we would like our project to lead us
We would like our project to lead to a legacy of an enhanced green infrastructure resource in the Garnock area and communities with enhanced skills and confidence to manage and conserve that resource. We recognise that in a year, these changes will only be beginning to happen but hope that the targeted investment proposed in this project will lead to further investment and activity as a result of the wider landscape partnership, the enhanced skills and capacity of communities in the area and the motivation that comes from seeing positive delivery of a project. Most importantly, the relationships and partnerships that will be developed will lead to further opportunities to work together in this way.