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Grants totalling nearly £1.4 million are being awarded to 30 projects across Scotland which encourage more people to use urban woodlands.
The funding will go towards work to upgrading path networks, greening up hospital woodlands, tree planting, volunteering and education or community programmes.
The projects are located mainly in key urbanised areas within the central belt but also stretch to Argyllshire, Grampian, the Borders, Galloway and Tayside.
The funding boost was announced at the Central Scotland Green Network annual forum in Cumbernauld by Environment & Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson.
“Boosting green networks in urban areas can make a significant contribution to a whole range of Scottish Government objectives…health improvement, biodiversity, climate change, regeneration, children’s development and crucially – economic recovery.
“The grants announced today total nearly £1.4 million, of which just over one million is for projects in the Central Scotland Green Network area. This funding will help make a positive and tangible difference to the lives of many people.”
Some of the key projects to receive funding include:
• Castlemilk Woodlands: £240,115
There has been great work to turn around this woodland for the community’s benefit however it still suffers from anti-social behaviour, fly tipping and vandalism. The woodland will receive a “woodland makeover” and new path networks created for access and to encourage more people to use it as an alternative commute to work.
• Forth Valley Royal Hospital woodlands: £101,667.
Work is continuing with Forestry Commission Scotland to transform the hospital’s woodlands into a green oasis which can be used for staff, the local community, patients and their visitors.
• Parkhill Wood, Clyde Muirshiel Park: £139, 509.
Funding will help paths and signage to be improved for all ability access and a programme of rhododendron and bracken removal will improve biodiversity.
• Neilsand & Earnock Glens (South Lanarkshire): £101,572.
After a previous community consultation, work to link these two urban woodlands will follow, with more emphasis on public recreation. New paths will be built or upgraded to improve access, litter cleared and community involvement will be promoted.
The grants are from Forestry Commission Scotland’s Woods In and Around Towns and Forests for People challenge funds. The support is designed to help revitalise existing woodlands for local people and encourage community-based health and education projects.
The Commission intends to target its partnership working to enhance urban woodlands towards the four city regions. This move will enable more people to benefit from the many advantages that greenspace offers.
Keith Geddes, chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Partnership Board, said:
“These grants will be welcome news for local communities across central Scotland. The Central Scotland Green Network is committed to a transformational agenda that will change peoples perceptions of the area in which they live and change others, largely outdated, perceptions of parts of the central belt.
“We are committed to a long term strategy that is all about improving the quality of life of individuals and communities and new urban woodlands will make a major contribution to that goal.”
Notes to news editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. 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.
3. For more information on the Central Scotland Green Network log on to:
4. The full list of projects is as follows. For more detailed information we suggest you contact the successful applicants.
Castlemilk woodlands (Glasgow City Council): £240,115 to open up access and revitalise the mature woodland for communities living in the area.
Linn Park Woodlands (Glasgow City Council): £110,928 to put a local community consultation into practice and raise awareness and use of the Park with the public and visitors. The aim is also to bring the woodland up to Local Nature Reserve status.
Redlees Urban Fringe Park (South Lanarkshire Council): £94,782 for Phase 2 of the Council’s plans to upgrade and create many new recreation facilities for school groups, walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
Neilsand & Earnock Glen (South Lanarkshire Council): £101,572 to improve recreation facilities and the environment for the two woodland sites.
Douglas Primary School (South Lanakshire Council): £5,507 towards the development of woodlands near the school as an education and community resource.
Meadowfield Woodland Forest School (Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust): £4,971 to fund a primary 4 class through a 6 week Forest School session.
Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust: £14,386 to run a mental health Branching Out programme in Edinburgh’s woodlands.
Hunters Hall woodland (Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust): £52,316 to help manage this woodland near Niddrie.
Craigmillar Castle Park (City of Edinburgh Council): £48,916 to help employ a Project officer to work with schools to train teachers to deliver outdoor learning programmes.
East Lothian Forest School project (Transition North Berwick): £4,832 to assist with Dirleton Primary School pupils getting experience of a Forest School outdoor learning programme.
Doonhill Wood (Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust): £16,657 for forest works to create better access and a native woodland recreation plan to guide work for the next two years to improve the wood as an educational and exercise resource.
Blairmount Park (Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust): £17,095 to produce a native woodland and recreation plan for the Park, plus forest management work.
Duncree Wood (Cree Valley Community Woodland Trust): £6,028 for a native woodland and recreation plan.
Living Classroom: the organisation will receive a grant of £6,742 to run a Woodland Experience programme in six primary schools in the Perth & Kinross area.
Blairgowrie Riverside Woodland – Lornty Wood (Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust): £22,537 for biodiversity improvements and planting. There will be upgrading of paths, tree safety works, the setting up of an outdoor classroom and interpretation.
Blairgowrie Riverside Woodland (Perth & Kinross Council): £12,566 towards biodiversity improvements to the Council owned area of this woodland which is a popular location close to local residents.
Woods for Wellbeing (NHS Tayside): £3,720 towards their programme promoting physical and mental well being. The money will be spent on a number of courses.
Dundee Forest Schools (Dundee City Council): £33,695 towards a Forest School programme for nine schools in Dundee.
Dundee Woodland Management (Dundee City Council): £8,348 towards the production of 18 woodland management plans in the Dundee area which will eventually help increase more use by the public.
North East Forest School Leader training (Forest Education Initiative): £24,172 to fund a significant expansion of outdoor learning by training up to 32 “Leaders” to run Forest Schools.
Blairbuie Woodland Project (Argyll & Bute Hospital): £11,121 to help in the process of using the hospital’s woodlands for the benefit of patients and visitors.
Morags Fairy Glen & Bishops Glen (Dunoon Community Development Group): £19,430 towards the employment of a forest ranger to promote community involvement. Emphasis on health, recreation and helping those with mental health issues.
Healthy Woods Project (Borders Forest Trust): £22,600 to assist and support Community Woodland Groups throughout the Scottish Borders to strengthen volunteering, youth training and healthy walks.
NHS Forth Valley Royal Hospital woodlands (NHS Forth Valley): £101,667 towards an on-going programme to transform the woodlands surrounding the hospital into a vital resource for patients, staff, visitors and the local community.
Gleniffer Braes (Renfrewshire Council): £44,970 to help towards a programme of improving paths through this woodland which also aims, through a programme of events, to turn around the perception that the woodland has for anti-social behaviour.
Parkhill Wood (Clyde Muirshiel Park Authority): £139,509 for improvement for all abilities and clearance of invasive plants.
Carron Dam (Scottish Wildlife Trust): £32,452 for environmental improvement and upgrading of footpaths, removal of litter, installation of a footbridge, and putting up a large number of bird and bat boxes.
Woodland Learning Programme (Scottish Native Woods): £38,433 to assist a comprehensive education programme for school children of various ages and training for adults.
Falkland Estate: £37,205 to assist in the employment of a woodland ranger to develop the Forest of Falkland and deliver talks, events, courses, and volunteering.
Cornbank Woodland (Midlothian Council): £34,400 for forest management purposes to improve the woodland’s environment and access, plus installation of interpretation and community involvement.
Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.