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Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change

A blog post by Shotts community

We are delighted to be working with seven communities across Scotland to develop bespoke plans for climate action.  In this interview blog - published as #ScotClimateWeek starts - four volunteers from a group in Shotts, North Lanarkshire tell us why they applied to work with us to develop a Community Climate Action Plan, the steps they took, and the hopes they have for the future.

The challenge

Who are you and where is your community?

Craig, Lesley, John, and Jan are a group of four volunteers from Shotts, North Lanarkshire, with a range of different life experiences and interests. But one thing they share is a consideration and care about the local environment and the development of the community they live in. Shotts is a post-industrial mining town and needs social and environmental remediation, the way the climate is changing they feel there is a need for the community in Shotts to act in ways which are progressive and support green recovery. They all want to make it a better place to live, especially for future generations.

Why did you apply to develop your Community Climate Action Plan with Keep Scotland Beautiful?

Craig: To set out a vision for a better Shotts! I mean we were aware of lots happening in our community which was having a positive impact on climate change and felt some of this was perhaps unnoticed by the wider community, we also felt there were opportunities to partner on projects and wanted to avoid a duplication of effort. We were also keen to learn more about the climate science and other communities’ experiences. The CCAP with Keep Scotland Beautiful seemed like a great opportunity to help us bring together all this great work and to create a vision for future actions.

What was your involvement as a community in climate change action prior to this project?

Craig: Like I say, a lot is happening in our community including clean-ups, active travel projects, food waste projects and much more but they didn’t necessarily identify as in service of climate action. A climate action plan has helped to make these more visible and will hopefully help more people understand the positive impact that everyday services and behaviour changes are having at a local level. We also hope the learning and shared knowledge will help increase involvement and new actions will be taken forward.

What did you hope to get out of the process at the outset?

Lesley: I hoped that we would be able to generate some ideas of projects for the community to take forward. The reality was so much more though. The structure of the sessions allowed us to explore possibilities and share information on established projects. We were also able to gain valuable insight from other community on how they had move things forward in their community.

Shotts community members host an exhibition to engage with the wider community
Shotts heritage

The approach

What was the most beneficial part of the process?

Jan: Bringing everything together on the grid, setting goals and giving ourselves targets as a community was a great part of the process. It helped visualise what is being done and what could still be done but it helped us make it achievable.

Were there any surprises as you worked through the process and developed your plan?

Lesley: Personally, I was surprised with how much skill, motivation and established projects were already underway or complete within the Shotts community. This helped to motivate me. I was surprised at the range of areas and ideas that could potentially be actioned within the community climate action plan.

Were there any additional benefits to the project ?

Jan: We were successful in bringing four people together who have an interest in their local environment but didn’t previously know one another or act on issues together. We shared different experiences and ideas to develop something meaningful together. We are now promoting the plan and aim to host a community event next year.

What was the engagement with the wider community like – any top tips for engaging?

Craig: We know from experience that engaging with the community takes time. As a small mining town there is many groups with different views and interests, but this plan will hopefully bring them together and provide a realisation that climate change affects us all and all our activities. So far, we have engaged with people on our Facebook page, and we have engaged face-to-face. We have piggy backed on to the council’s town vision consultation events which use the place standard tool just like the CCAP, so it fits into this well as a piece of work. Engagement hasn’t been great, but it’ll be a process.

What was it like to work with members of #TeamKSBScot and could you have gone through this process without external support and guidance?

John: It was a pleasure to work with all the people involved and we could not have done this without the support and guidance from our Partners.

Would you encourage communities to develop their climate action plans with KSB and why?

John: I would encourage communities to develop their own plans as people need their voices heard to ensure a future for our planet. 

Next steps

What is happening with your plan now and what are your hopes for the future?

Craig: Our plan is still being developed and will always be a live piece of work. We hope throughout the next year to present it at local community events, to get more people and organisations on board with the plan. We have an aim to host a climate festival for everyone in the community in April 2023, so watch this space.

Will you keep in touch with other communities involved in the process and continue to share learning?

Craig: Through my role in the community and voluntary sector I link in with the North Lanarkshire partners biodiversity group to build relationships and share knowledge and resources with other communities in North Lanarkshire. I know that Holytown are also acting to become a climate friendly town, and we hope others do the same.

You can find out more about the work we are doing to support Community Climate Action Plans and read about the experiences of another community Arbroath FC Community Trust in their recent blog too.

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