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greenspace scotland news | MyParkScotland | Project of the month | Scotland news | Scottish projects round-up | UK and international news | Research | Funding and support | Jobs and volunteering  | Events and training

Welcome to our July ebulletin. In this month's ebulletin, we highlight some of the great work that is happening locally and further afield to support greenspaces as well as raising awareness of research, job vacancies, funding and events which may interest you and your networks. The ebulletin has a holiday in August; we hope you get a restful break too and look forward to sharing greenspace highlights in early September.

greenspace scotland news

Greenspace use during the pandemic
COVID-19 and greenspace use: survey findings summary published by Public Health Scotland shows that use of greenspace during Covid-19 was sharply polarised. While many people’s use of greenspace increased; some people, including those who did not have access to a garden or shared outdoor spaces at home, did not use parks or other public greenspaces. Socio-economic inequality in relation to use of greenspace increased during the pandemic, with greater rises in reported use of greenspace among more advantaged groups than disadvantaged.
 
People who used greenspaces during the pandemic reported positive benefits for their mental health and wellbeing. Both high-income and low-income groups reported mental health benefits, with the gap in reported benefits between groups decreasing over time suggesting access to greenspace has an important contribution to make in tackling health inequalities. Read the summary report 
 
Since May 2020, greenspace scotland has been chairing the Environment and Spaces for Public Health Partnership Group - read Julie Procter’s blog which accompanies publication of the report.
 
Young Placechangers at Inverleith Park
greenspace scotland’s Young Placechangers Development Officer has been running sessions with young people from Broughton High School, Edinburgh as part of the masterplan process for Inverleith Park. The first session saw the young people being asked ‘What would you like to see in the park?’ They came up with some great ideas that fell within the themes of Sustainability, Activities and Community - ranging from creating areas for wildlife, solar powered bike paths helping people feel safe in the park at night, fun activity ideas for all ages, and an affordable community café that could be linked to employability skills for young people. The second session explored these ideas further and they are now looking into the idea of a ‘Youth of Inverleith Park’ Friends Group.  Robert, one of the young placechangers, put it this way “Young people should be encouraged to do more to try and help with what we want in our parks and what we can try to help with”. Check out our Young Placechangers resources  or email Angela, Young Placechangers Development Officer to find out more about supporting work with young people in your area.


Land management skills in the Inner Forth
Sniffer and greenspace scotland are conducting research to understand the need for new skills and training requirements for those working on land management in the Inner Forth. Ground operatives, streetscene teams, land managers, contractors, training providers etc have been invited to complete a survey, which is now closed. The information gathered through this research will be used to support the Stage 2 National Lottery Heritage Fund bid to fund a skills development programme for Grounds Operatives in the Inner Forth area. If successful, the project will deliver training activity between 2023 and 2026. If you missed the survey or are interested in this project, contact Ian

Introducing our Remembering Together artists
Remembering Together, Scotland’s Covid Community Memorial Programme, is now underway across the country with artists and creative practitioners appointed in 27 local authority areas, from Aberdeen to South Lanarkshire. In the coming months, artists will work with communities in their areas to co-create ideas for memorial projects through workshops, exhibitions and open days, utilising a variety of creative tools including printmaking, video, photography, reflective writing and storytelling.

The first commissioned Remembering Together artists, left to right are: Abbey Craig, Lily Garget (Angus); Ana Guerrero, Vinishree Verma (Around Zero, Dundee); Barbara Gardner-Rowell (East Lothian); Karen Orr (RIG Arts, Inverclyde); Graeme Roger, Caroline Inkle (Moray); Taylor Waggoner (Perth and Kinross); Maja Zeco, Caitlyn Main, Roos Dijkhuizen (Aberdeen); Elena Mary Harris (East Dunbartonshire)
 
Tesco Community Grants – applications welcome
Local groups and good causes can apply to receive up to £1500 in the form of a Tesco Community Grant. Schools and public bodies are also eligible to apply. Largs Primary School recently received a grant towards their outdoor garden and learning area. Staff find that time outside is popular with their children and has huge benefits for their learning and wellbeing, and it’s super to see what the funds have supported.  greenspace scotland’s Community Enablers can be contacted for information and help with applying.

MyParkScotland

MyParkScotland: Supporting crowdfunds, text giving and parks
If you want to raise funds for your park or greenspace project, then please get in touch. Every project listed on the MyParkScotland crowdfunding page also has the opportunity to raise funds through a unique text code. People can donate from £1 to £20 via text, a super simple way for donors to easily support your project. 
 
Email Ian to find out how MyParkScotland can help you raise funds for your project. Show how much you love parks and greenspaces by helping others achieve their park dreams by making a donation  to support an urban forest, play areas and various parks projects.

Project of the month

Dundee’s greenspaces are getting greener!
Encouraged by the response to reduced grass maintenance during the Covid lockdowns in 2020, Dundee City Council now have 27 sites across the city that they manage in new ways, as either biodiversity-rich meadows (‘biodiversity grasslands’) or less-intensively managed grasslands (‘naturalised grasslands’). This is a big change for staff and communities to the traditional close-cut grass that’s often seen as a sign of a well-run park – and it’s been a journey of finding the balance for staff, the community and for biodiversity.
 
Starting by reviewing all greenspace sites they manage, Council staff selected areas that were not in conflict with recreation, sport or access. These were mostly under tree canopies, on wet or sloping ground. The sites were then surveyed. Those with some native floral diversity were designated to be managed as ‘biodiversity grassland’, and those with mainly grass species as ‘naturalised grassland’.

A city-wide consultation, mostly on-line due to Covid, took place in 2020. Maps of the proposed sites were provided for comment, as well as questions exploring attitudes to the creation of the new grasslands. The responses, although mixed, were overwhelmingly in favour of the changes. Dundee City Council now manage 8 hectares as biodiversity grassland and 49 hectares of naturalised grassland.
 
Signage explained the intention to change management, and they are using signs with QR codes to interpret the changes that are now in place, with ‘Feeding the bees’ signs at biodiversity grassland sites and ‘Wild grass’ signs at naturalised grassland sites. Consultation with, and involvement of, local residents is important. Scottish Government funds have been used to make the changes, and to employ a Community Environment Officer who supports communities in undertaking on-going planting and monitoring activities. 

Scotland news

Overgrown greenspace and rusted swings - how neighbourhood services are being eroded
An investigation by journalists has found that council-run neighbourhood services in some Scottish communities are being eroded to crisis point. As part of the investigation, The Ferret asked councils about staff working in Scotland’s parks. More than half of local authorities – 16 out of 27 who provided figures – revealed that the number had fallen over five years. Across Scotland there was a reduction in staffing of 17%.
 
The Improvement Service Local Government Benchmarking Framework has already revealed that council spending on parks and open spaces has reduced in real terms by 41% over the last 10 years – from around £32 per person per year to £19. The reduction in the last year alone is 11%.
 
Speaking to The Ferret, Julie Procter, chief executive of greenspace scotland, made a plea for “short-sighted” cuts to parks to be reversed. She said, “It doesn’t take much in terms of grass not being cut, dog fouling, litter and graffiti before a greenspace becomes a no-go area, somewhere that you don’t want to spend time or let your children play.” While friends of parks groups were stepping in to fill the gap left by council funding and staff cuts, she said more investment was urgently needed. “Cuts to parks budgets and staff are ultimately a false economy,” she said. “There is a large and growing body of research which shows the positive impact that greenspace has on our quality of life and particularly on health and wellbeing.”
 
Consultation on new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy
Scottish Government has launched a consultation on a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy. They want the Strategy to focus on every part of what mental health and wellbeing means - this includes: addressing the underlying reasons behind poor mental health and helping to create the conditions for people to thrive.
 
Good Food Nation Bill is passed
The Good Food Nation Bill enshrines in law the Scottish Government’s commitment to Scotland being a Good Food Nation, where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day. Legislation requires Government, local authorities and health boards to create good food nation plans, plus a Food Commission will be established for scrutinising and making recommendations in relation to the good food nation plans and progress reports.
 
CSGN Growing Food Together Fund opens – apply now!
Open to community groups from across Scotland. Projects that are eligible to be funded are those that support community food growing projects that include, but are not limited to, elements of: setting up a community growing area where the land has been set aside for this purpose; installing physical infrastructure such as raised beds or polytunnels; source materials and equipment to prepare sites for growing; purchase or lease of tools and equipment; make the site safe for growing e.g. installing fences, ensuring accessible access; soil analysis testing and site research; site feasibility studies or design work; learning and training opportunities to increase knowledge about food growing
 
New Green Participatory Budgeting web resources launched 
A type of participatory budgeting (PB), Green PB is about supporting community-led responses to the climate emergency. Find out about the Green PB Action Group, sign up for updates, and search resources. Supported by SCDC and funded by the Scottish Government.
 
£6.5million more funding for local nature restoration projects
Local government-led projects that support biodiversity and improve the health and wellbeing of local communities are set to benefit from more Scottish Government funding.
 
Scottish Government seeks views to shape Scotland’s Biodiversity Strategy
The Scottish Government is consulting on how we should tackle the biodiversity crisis.  A series of workshops have taken place to scope out the detail of the strategy, develop ideas and test concepts. The consultation seeks a wider range of views to test and further develop these ideas. Closes 12 September.
 
Help shape the National Lottery Community Fund’s funding priorities in Scotland
The National Lottery Community Fund want their funding programme in Scotland from 2023 and beyond to reflect the needs of local communities. They are seeking views via a short survey, which is open until 19 July. 
 
Have you seen the Scottish Outdoor Access Code education resource pack? 
Designed for use by those working with young people of all ages, the fun activities will help reinforce messages encouraging responsible behavior in greenspaces. Developed by NatureScot.


Paths for All invites you to celebrate your fantastic volunteers
Let the volunteers involved in your community path group, sustainable travel project, or Health Walk know how much they are appreciated by nominating them for Paths for All’s Volunteer Awards. Closes 31 July.
 
2022 SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration now open
The SURF Awards highlight, celebrate and share the achievements of initiatives that address physical, social and economic challenges in communities across Scotland. The five categories this year are: Community Led Regeneration, Supporting Youth Employability, Improving Scotland's Places (previously Scotland's Most Improved Place), Housing and Regeneration, Creative Regeneration. Initiatives can apply for themselves and/or nominate others. Deadline for applications 5 September.

Scottish projects round-up

Edinburgh’s famous Floral clock blooms for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
This year’s design on the world’s oldest Floral Clock in Edinburgh’s West Princes Street Gardens celebrates Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. A team of five gardeners took four weeks to plant over 35,000 flowers and plants to create the clock, which will be in bloom until October.

New inclusive playpark opens in North Inch, Perth
Maisie Moo’s Play Park is named after a local girl with cerebral palsy. The play area features a wheelchair-friendly trampoline, wheelchair-friendly swing and seesaw as well as specially designed sensory experiences and picnic benches. Maisi’s mother was inspired to act due to a lack of suitable play facilities, and with the help of a good friend they raised over £100,000. Supported by Perth & Kinross Council’s Greenspace Team and £53,000 from the Council’s capital programme the play area is designed for children of all abilities to play together. 

Cumnock’s dementia friendly Memory Garden opens
The Memory Garden has been developed by Cumnock Action Plan in partnership with Green Action Trust, and is designed to be a peaceful and quiet greenspace, offering people with dementia and their carers opportunities for fresh air, gentle exercise and social interaction. The central feature is the artwork ‘Reading Between the Lines’ - three granite sculptures engraved with different surface pattern designs inspired by the stories and recollections of the people of Cumnock. Phase 1 was supported by Life Changes Trust, Awards for All, EB Scotland, East Ayrshire Council’s Renewable Energy Fund, Corra Foundation, Shire Housing Association and the Mushroom Trust.


Flaxmill crop planting signals latest stage of development
The project, at Silverburn Park in Leven, secured over £3.5m from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, as well as funding from a range of other sources, for Fife Employment Access Trust (FEAT) to build on their work improving the popular park and to put added focus on the restoration of the B-listed former flax mill. Once work is completed it will see a bright future as a visitor centre and community hub. Whilst the Flax Mill construction programme will get underway in earnest next year, FEAT are already delivering a wide range of activities to promote heritage and get local people involved. You can also support their fundraising campaign through the Silverburn Flax Mill ‘Buy a Brick’ crowdfunding campaign 
 
Interested in crowdfunding for your project? Get in touch with Ian Goodman to find out how MyParkScotland could help run a crowdfunding campaign for activities and improvements in your local park or greenspace.


Glasgow Community Food Network – Demand for Land survey. 
The Glasgow Community Food Network have launched a survey to gauge the interest and number of people and organisations in Glasgow that are currently looking for land to grow food on, whether it’s a community garden, allotment, small enterprise or other community project. The survey is open to groups and individuals who either do not have a site in mind, or are in the process of trying to take a site on (at any stage).
 
The back catalogue: greenspace scotland’s Projects of the Month listings
Looking for ideas or to get a snapshot of great greenspace and placemaking activity? Our listing page for all the amazing Projects of the Month includes inspiring projects from Scotland including community food growing, greenspaces for health, young people and greenspace and much more!

UK and international news

Urban wetlands could improve wellbeing
A new report from the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust (WWT) says more ponds and streams can tackle health inequalities and foster community, saving NHS money. It collates evidence that access to wetlands improves health and sense of community, as well as cooling cities, reducing flooding and curbing air pollution. WWT are proposing new wetlands ranging from large-scale parks supporting whole communities, to restoring streams flowing through neighbourhoods, to street-side rain gardens and back-yard mini-ponds fed by drainpipes.
 
Nature Recovery Rangers at English NHS sites prove their worth
In 2021, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare launched an innovative project to employ Nature Recovery Rangers at NHS sites in three locations – Bristol, Liverpool and London. The rangers arrived on their sites with a remit to run nature engagement activities and act as advocates for biodiversity: leading on food growing, wildlife-friendly gardening, nature walks, tree planting and more. The impact on biodiversity and wellbeing has been evaluated and as a result there are plans to expand the programme further, with two new rangers secured for 2022 in East London and Newcastle. Feedback from NHS trusts has also inspired the Centre to establish a new site-specific scheme offering bespoke ecological advice to NHS sites.
 
Call for more rights for food growing in public spaces
The Incredible Edible Network are leading a campaign to give more rights for food growing in public spaces. They have drawn up plans to oblige local authorities to keep a register of public land suitable for vegetable and fruit growing which local groups could apply to access.


Novel partnership between green health charity and motorway service station
Kendal-based charity Growing Well is to create a therapeutic garden at Tebay Services on the M6 in Cumbria, to provide vegetables with the help of volunteers. The charity uses gardening to help people struggling with their mental health and plans to support 100 people a year. Funding is provided by the National Lottery Community Fund and the Westmorland Family who run Tebay Services.
 
Help find the nation’s favourite park 2022
Fields In Trust are looking for nominations of parks across the UK that are special to you. Nominations closed on 5 July, with public vote open from close of nominations until 11 August.
 
USDA launches Rural America Placemaking Toolkit
The toolkit includes a range of downloadable resources and HowTo guides for use in smaller towns.

Research 

Health benefits of outdoor recreation valued up to £8.4 billion per year
Further development by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) of the UK recreation natural capital ecosystem service accounts, includes methods to estimate the health benefits gained from nature-based recreational activities. The ONS estimate the value of health benefits associated with outdoor recreation within the UK was between £6.2 billion and £8.4 billion in 2020. Between 2009 and 2020, recreational visits in built-up areas (i.e. urban greenspaces) and gardens accounted for over 50% of the total health benefits associated with recreation. Scotland consistently had the highest value associated with recreational health benefits per person of the four UK nations.
 
UK children’s access to urban greenspace ranks 26 out of 39 developed nations
UNICEF has highlighted the importance of having good access to urban greenspace to children’s health and development – but in its recent Report Card in developed nations the UK was at number 26. Research, published in ‘Places and Spaces: environments and children’s wellbeing’, shows a clear link between access to greenspace and children’s satisfaction with life. Last year, UNICEF also published The Necessity of Urban Green Space for Children’s Optimal Development 
 
New greenspace indicator for Scotland’s Landscape Monitoring programme
NatureScot has published three new Indicators for Scotland’s Landscape Monitoring Programme: Areas of Local Landscape Designations, Urban Greenspace and Urban Vacant & Derelict Land. The Urban Greenspace indicator will monitor the extent of urban greenspace as a percentage of urban land area. This will help understand changes in the extent, distribution and types of greenspace, which is essential for the strategic planning and management of Scotland’s greenspace assets to enable them to deliver better quality local landscapes. The proportion of greenspace in urban land as of 2017 was 54% making urban Scotland more green than grey.
 
Access to natural space and 20 minute neighbourhoods 
Researchers examined the association between distance from home of nearest natural space, housing tenure, and the likelihood of frequent natural space use (visited once a week or more). The closer people live to natural space the more likely they are to visit; with social housing tenants least likely to visit. The findings provide evidence that proximity to natural space is a strong predictor of frequent use, but it also cautions that time-based access measures alone do not consider deep-rooted socio-economic variation in use of natural space. It concludes that policy makers should ensure a nuanced lens is applied to operationalising and monitoring 20-minute neighbourhoods to safeguard against exacerbating existing inequalities.
 
Carbon sequestration benefit from urban residential greenspace
Analysis of the regulating effects of varieties of vegetation on CO2 concentration among four urban residential areas showed that greenspace with an ecological plant structure of trees-shrubs-grass exhibited greater improvement in the environmental carbon balance than those of just shrubs or grass. The atmospheric carbon sequestration capacity was also significantly affected by the total quantity of the greenspace.

Funding and support

Each month we feature a small selection of funding opportunities open to parks, greenspace, green infrastructure and community projects. Visit the funding section of our website to find out about lots more funding opportunities 
 
Community Paths Fund 2022 – Paths for All
Grants of up to £1500 to provide communities with the resources they need to maintain, upgrade, create and promote community paths close to where they live. Open for expressions of interest and full applications.  Closes 8 July.
 
Climate Fringe Festival September 2022
Grants of up to £500 for community events across Scotland, prioritising those outwith the central belt and city centres. Closes 1 August.
 
CSGN Growing Together Fund
Open to applications from community growing projects from across Scotland. See item in Scottish news section. Closes 8 August.
 
Partnership Fund – Historic Environment Scotland
Open to third-sector organisations delivering strategic outcomes with national impact for Scotland’s historic environment sector. Applicants are likely to include charitable organisations playing an intermediary role or representing a specific area of activity within the sector. Eligible activities include professional or volunteer training programmes addressing recognised historic environment skills gaps at a national level; capacity building; learning programmes. Expression of interest closes 15 August, with applications closing 15 September.
 
Community Ownership Fund – UK Government
To help communities take ownership of assets at risk of loss. The Fund will run for 4 years until 2024/25. Apply for up to £250,000 match funded capital and up to £50,000 revenue funding. First round closes 19 August.
 
Tesco Community Grants
Tesco Community Grants is always open for applications from local charities and community organisations that support good causes in their area. Grants of up to £1500.  The scheme is open to registered charities and not-for-profit organisations, including Local Authorities, schools, social housing providers and health partnerships. greenspace scotland’s team of Community Enablers are here to help!
 
Free trees for schools and communities – Woodland Trust
Packs available for schools, nurseries, colleges, universities and outdoor learning centres plus others such as resident associations, sports clubs, community councils, scouts, guides etc. The land the trees are planted on should be accessible to the public. Pack options: Hedge, Copse, Wild harvest, Year-round colour, Working wood, Wild wood, Wildlife, Urban trees. Register now for packs to be delivered in November 2022.

Jobs and volunteering

Midlothian Regional Network Coordinator - Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN)
To build connection and understanding across community groups and create structures to enable the adoption of more strategic and collaborative approaches to the climate emergency. Closing date 15 July
 
Lanarkshire Regional Network Coordinator - Scottish Communities Climate Action Network (SCCAN)
To build connection and understanding across community groups and create structures to enable the adoption of more strategic and collaborative approaches to the climate emergency. Closing date 19 July
 
Board Members – The Children’s Wood Glasgow
The Children’s Wood is seeking to strengthen its skill-set on the board. Particularly looking for board members with the following skills: interest in, and preferably experience of safeguarding; administrative experience to take on the role of secretary working with the Chair and members to raise the profile of the organisation; HR experience to help provide excellent employment experience for part-time and sessional staff. Closing date 22 July
 
Forester – Green Action Trust
Involves woodland design, woodland management planning, cost estimating, management and delivery of work programmes (including management of contracts and contractors) and securing forestry grants. Closing date 1 August

Events and training

9 July – Art in the Park, The Meadows Community Garden, Edinburgh
The event is open to all artists of any age and experience level (can just be an artist by hobby) to exhibit or sell their work. Artists may bring their artwork on the day, making sure it is weather-proofed as they will be displayed in the garden and it's not sheltered. 12pm – 6pm. Email for further info.
 
12 July – Meet others interested in climate and food growing, Glasgow’s East End
Hosted by Glasgow Community Food Network's Food & Climate Action Project. Learn about the Wash House Garden, a community growing project in Parkhead, and their upcoming Bee School. Hear from other local projects. Free lunch provided. 
 
21 & 28 July - Stories for Change Workshop, SCCAN, on-line
Training with Media Education, delivered in two sessions, will provide the skills to plan, script and shoot a short film. Also focusing on identifying and reaching target audiences with your message.
 
26 July - Building a Food Forest, Midlothian Community Hospital Gardens
18 August - Healthy and resilient orchards

Part of a series, hosted at the Cyrenians’ garden site with The Orchard project. Workshops are accessible and no prior knowledge or skills are required. Sessions are designed to be hands-on and practical with all tools and materials provided.
 
25 August – SURF’s 2022 Annual Conference, COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh
‘From Slogans to Sound Strategy?’ the morning session will focus on Community Wealth Building and the afternoon on Levelling Up.

15 September - A New Era for Green Infrastructure? (online)
This online conference organised by the TCPA on behalf of the UK Green Infrastructure Partnership, will consider the following questions: What is Britain’s green infrastructure policy post BREXIT? How can ambitious national policies be translated into innovative projects on the ground? Are local leaders ready to do things differently? What skills are needed – and who needs them?
 
20-22 September – Naturally Thriving: Rethinking Urban Green Space | Future Parks Accelerator event (online) – save the date
Join the National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Trust for three days of inspirational talks, practical workshops and networking to celebrate and share learning from the Future Parks Accelerator programme.  At this online conference you can learn about creating thriving places for people and nature from leaders, innovators and policymakers. Register interest via Eventbrite now.
greenspace scotland is a registered Scottish Charity (No. SC034078) and a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in Scotland (No. 236105).

greenspace scotland provides this ebulletin as a rapid information service for organisations and individuals with an interest in greenspace. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the information included is correct, greenspace scotland cannot accept liability for any omissions or inaccuracies and does not take responsibility for the quality of any services or products mentioned nor for the content of any external websites.

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