Cambuslang Green Network
23 November 2015: The Cambuslang Green Network project will take a big step forward thanks to a £35,000 grant from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Communities Capital Fund. The award, which was announced by Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney MSP, on 23 November will fund new flower planters and hanging baskets to brighten up the Main Street and a new flower bed along the north side of the street. The grant was won by Cambuslang Community Council against stiff competition from communities throughout Scotland. Community Council Treasurer, John Bachtler, who led the bid team said: “We are delighted with the award for our ‘Greening the Main Street’ project. The £1.7m Town Centre Communities Capital Fund was over-subscribed by eight times, attracting 159 bids from community groups across the country and only 20 grants were awarded. It’s fantastic news that the Cambuslang Community is one of the winners”. (See the News page for more information here.)
29 September 2015: Greening the Main Street. The bid for funding to the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Communities Capital Fund reported in the main News post on the homepage will not improve the appearance of the Main Street, but will also be an important link in the Cambuslang Green Network. Schools involved in the Green Network project (see below) have offered to take responsibility for some of the planters and help maintain them.
Cambuslang Green Network
Cambuslang Green Network is a project started by Cambuslang Community Council, in partnership with Friends of Cambuslang Park, Friends of Holmhills Wood Community Park, Friends of Overtoun Park and local schools, to undertake a detailed survey of public greenspace and the state of the green environment in Cambuslang. The outcome will be a better understanding of the quality of greenspace in the area, how it has changed and is changing, and how it is seen and used by local people.
The project also aims to produce a ’greenspace masterplan’ identifying existing and potential new green spaces and green paths throughout Cambuslang as a basis for protecting and improving them. In particular, it will seek ways of connecting the parks (e.g. Cambuslang, Holmhills, Quarryfield) with the developing Clyde Walkway to create a ‘Cambuslang Green Network’ that would provide new opportunities for active travel (walking, cycling), corridors for wildlife, and an overall improvement in the environment of Cambuslang.
The project will contribute to the work being done by South Lanarkshire Council (Countryside Access), the Glasgow & Clyde Valley Green Network, and the Central Scotland Green Network Trust to develop an updated green network strategy and priorities for investment across the west of Scotland. All three organisations have been involved in the development of the Cambuslang Green Network initiative and strongly support its objectives.
CGN Schools Project
The CGN Schools Project aims to involve schools in the Green Network initiative and encourage and inspire young people to become more aware of the green environment in the Cambuslang area, the threats it faces and the opportunities it offers.
Three local schools (Cairns Primary School, Calderwood Primary School, Trinity High School) are currently involved in the project to explore how it could form part of the curriculum (see annexed action plan). Specifically, it will provide an opportunity for outdoor learning, promoted under Curriculum for Excellence, which specifically encourages schools to use greenspace for active, creative and collaborative learning experiences. The project will also link with the aims of the Eco-Schools initiative and Green Flag award.
State of the green environment
The first set of activities will involve surveying and mapping the green environment in Cambuslang. This is a bottom-up exercise which should eventually map the whole of the town on large-scale OS maps using a standard typology. This will be done on an area-by area, street-by-street basis to identify factors such as:
- land use comprising public greenspace or other public open space – formal areas such as parks, sports pitches, amenity greenspace, woodland, playparks, allotments and community gardens, green corridors and informal greenspace;
- vegetation – presence/absence of trees, shrubbery, hedgerows or other planting;
- habitats – known or potential wildlife;
- environmental quality – presence/absence of litter, fly-tipping, dog fouling, graffiti.
The intention is to record this information in three ways:
- mapping of the above conditions to record information based on the categories used for land-use mapping by the Glasgow & Clyde Valley Green Network;
- a photographic record, area-by-area, street-by-street, which illustrates the environment of all parts of Cambuslang – using digital media (smartphones, tablets, digital cameras) – and provides a record of Cambuslang today and enables comparisons with the past; and
- video/audio of the life and sounds of the area.
People and the green environment
Complementing the above are activities that will investigate how people in the area perceive and use the greenspace. Survey work with family, friends, neighbours would examine:
- knowledge/awareness of the parks and informal greenspace in the area – do people know what’s around them?
- usage – to what extent do people use the greenspace (purpose, frequency)?
- assessment – what do they think of the state (availability/accessibility/quality) of the greenspace?
- change over time – for older respondents: how does the current state of the greenspace compare with the past? What is different and why?
This will be recorded partly through questionnaires (especially multiple choice questions) that will allow data to be aggregated and compared by age, gender, location etc. It will also provide scope for personal narratives to be written up, recorded and filmed, particularly with grand-parents (who might also be encouraged to share photos of greenspace in Cambuslang from the past).
For older year groups, there will be scope for project work examining issues of local and national policy towards openspace and the green environment, the competing pressures for land use, and how these are resolved.
Outcomes and results
A website will be created with access rights for each school, allowing them to upload the text, audio, photographic and video material collected. (If there is sufficient interest, pupils could be involved in a web development group, working with an experienced web designer.) The website will be a working resource for the schools involved and also a legacy providing a permanent record of the environment in Cambuslang in the second decade of the 21st century.
The photographic record and video/audio recordings will provide the basis for displays and exhibitions organised in the participating schools as well as ‘travelling’ around local venues (libraries, community centres, schools) and festivals or events such as the Cambuslang Park Family Fun Day.
Additionally, the results will be used to develop a ‘greenspace masterplan’ for Cambuslang to guide and inform future development of the area and the next-generation Local Development Plan. It will also provide a basis for prioritising strategic investment in green networks by South Lanarkshire Council and the development of specific greenspace / green path projects by local and community groups.
Resources and partners
A range of partner organisations have offered support in terms of resources or other services to facilitate the project, notably the following:
- Cambuslang Community Council – coordination of the project; liaison with schools and other partners; marketing and fund-raising
- Friends of Cambuslang Park – advice and support for park visits; support with fund-raising and web design;
- Friends of Holmhills Park – advice and support for park visits and expert guided walks;
- Friends of Overtoun Park
- Cambuslang Heritage Group – talks to school groups on the history of Cambuslang, its environment and greenspace; access to historical materials;
- South Lanarkshire Council – access to maps and mapping software (Countryside Access); expert guided walks (Country Rangers service);
- Healthy n Happy Community Development Trust – camera equipment (tbc) and publicity on CamGlen Radio;
- Morrison’s – provision of resources for survey work.
Discussions with other organisations are ongoing, particularly regarding access to computer tablets, microphones and cameras, and web development support.