The Lennoxtown Initiative was set up for the social, economic and physical regeneration of Lennoxtown, a community in East Dunbartonshire that had suffered significant job losses.
What were they trying to achieve?
The focus of the research project was to gather information to support the creation of a heritage trail and community path network in the Lennoxtown, Clachan of Campsie and Haughhead areas. The purpose of the appraisal was to enable the community to identify local needs and desires, barriers and conflicts, and ways to encourage and support walking, cycling etc.
How did they go about it?
A Participatory Appraisal survey was carried out by Scottish Participatory Initiatives (SPI) on behalf of East Dunbartonshire Council and Lennoxtown Initiative in and around the Lennoxtown area in August 2003. The appraisal asked people where they walk and cycle, what they use parks and green spaces for now, and their ideas for the future. Seven local people were recruited and trained by SPI to be participatory appraisal facilitators. They and SPI associates then met and engaged with 310 people living in and around the Lennoxtown area over three days.
What did they learn?
- The most common response was the need for better maintenance and litter clearance of paths and green spaces
- There is little demand for new paths, but a strong demand for the improvement of the existing ones
- The Strathkelvin Railway is the most popular path
- Anti-social behaviour is identified as a problem and in particular in the Field Park
- Lennox Castle/Forest if the third most popular area for informal recreation
- There is a demand for facilities for scramble bikes
- There were suggestions for new leisure facilities
What difference did it make?
The project reported in August 2003 and the outcome of the project has been an agreed ongoing investment programme with the Council to regenerate the local environment.
The first of these projects is to regenerate the Lennoxtown section of the Strathkelvin Railway: to improve drainage, remove barriers, and cut back vegetation. The works have addressed the following issues raised during consultation: poor surface, flooding and mud, anti-social behaviour on the path, and access points that excluded cyclists, prams and wheelchairs. An application for £8000 to East Dunbartonshire Environmental Land Fill tax fund was submitted for improvements to paths. Local volunteers will work with the Countryside Ranger Service on small scale path projects and the rest of the money will be used as 'seed corn' to raise further funds to implement a wider scheme. Further work has included a local history night to promote the heritage aspect of the path network.