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Grants over £407,000 have been awarded to 14 projects across Scotland, creating better access, health and outdoor learning opportunities for people living near urban woodlands.
The cash boost will be used for a number of initiatives including developing woodlands for hospital patients and primary school children, training teachers and youth workers for outdoor learning projects and carrying out surveys to produce woodland management plans.
The successful projects are spread across Scotland from Orkney, Dundee, Ayrshire, Edinburgh down to the Borders.
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:
“The development of woodlands in towns and cities is making a real difference to the quality of life of many people across Scotland.
“Funding to help revitalise or support woodland based projects can open up many more opportunities, not only for access and recreation but importantly for outdoor learning.
“If we can engage children with the natural environment at a very early age, the evidence is that they are more likely to re-engage in later life. This is good news for boosting healthier lifestyles amongst the public and for developing a greater understanding of biodiversity and climate change.”
The grants are from Forestry Commission Scotland’s Woods In and Around Towns initiative and Forests for People challenge funds. These funds are designed to help woodland owners revitalise existing woodlands for the benefit of local people and support community-based health and education.
Amongst the successful projects are:
Ninewells Hospital (Dundee): £39,368 to enable NHS Tayside develop the woodlands around Ninewells for walking and recreation to aid patient recovery and for staff and visitors to enjoy.
Craigmillar Castle Park, near Edinbugh: £35,050 has been awarded to Enable Scotland for a woodland-based project that provides volunteering opportunities for 16-26 year olds with learning difficulties.
Borders Forest Trust: £53, 900 has been awarded towards the post of a Community Liaison and Education Officer, a number of woodland visits for children and training for Forest School teachers. The activities will be spread over a number of woodlands in the Borders.
Spiers School, owned by North Ayrshire Council, receives £68, 781 to help revitalise the woodland found in the grounds of the school. The grant will go to boost the recreational and educational opportunities in the woodland.
Orkney Island Council is awarded £52, 507 towards a project facilitator who can develop a number of educational and community related activities using the island’s woodland resource. The aim being to help the community benefit in social, health and environmental terms.
Notes to news editors
1. The funding to physically revitalise woodlands across Scotland is primarily from the WIAT (Woods In and Around Towns) Challenge fund, to which applicants submit bids to Forestry Commission Scotland. A second Challenge Fund, Forests For People (F4P), has been developed to support the activities necessary to help people enjoy their local woods. This fund supports community-based, education and health activities that encourage greater use of woodland. Both funds come under the Scotland Rural Development Programme which provides a framework to deliver European and Scottish Government funding for social, economic and environmental benefits.
2. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
3. The full list of projects is as follows. Media are advised to contact the recipients of the grants for more detailed information.
Machanhill Primary School (Larkhall): £4,951 towards encouraging school children to enjoy woodland and outdoor activities. The school intends to develop a woodland area near to the school for this purpose.
Spiers School, North Ayrshire Council: £68, 781 to enhance recreation in the school’s woodland area.
Renfrewshire Council woodlands; £12, 750 for a detailed survey and public consultation to produce management plans for woodlands in the area.
Borders Forest Trust: £53, 900 for Community Liaison and Education officer and Forest School training to get children more engaged with woodlands in the Borders.
Craigmillar Castle Park: £35, 050 to Enable Scotland for volunteering project using the Park’s woodlands.
Curriemuir Community Woodland: £14,263 for conservation programmes being carried to benefit those suffering from mental health issues. New Caledonian Woodlands is the recipient.
The Green Team: £14,636 towards forest school based projects aimed at women and children who have experienced domestic abuse. Projects being carried out in various Edinburgh woodlands.
Living Classrooms: £26,500 to contribute to a part-time Scotland-wide forest school support and development officer to help the organisation set up a Forest School.
Ledmore and Migdale Woods ( within Dornoch Firth). Woodland Trust awarded £27, 810 contribution towards setting up a three year project to train up teachers from local schools to gain skills in outdoor learning.
Orkney Islands Council: £52,507 for project facilitator to run educational and community activities using the Island’s woodland resource.
Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust: £40,050 for the Trust’s Woodlands, Words and Wonders project which encourages children to be more active and spend more time outdoors. The funding will help start up an audit of suitable woodland sites for education and training.
Ninewells Hospital: NHS Tayside has been awarded £39,368 to help transform woodlands surrounding the hospital for patients, staff and visitors.
Gartcosh Nature Reserve: £12, 522 towards a programme to develop the reserve more to engage 8-13 year olds to connect with the natural environment. Challenging and purposeful activities will aim to reduce future anti-social behaviour. Applicant was Neighbourhood House and site owner is North Lanarkshire Council.
Hailes Quarry Park: Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust are awarded £4,496 towards a project encouraging youngsters to get more active through cycling events in the summer holidays.
Media enquiries: For more detailed information about the project please contact the organisation’s receiving the grants, otherwise Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.