- We are all accountable for our actions
- Hillhead students talk keeping Kelvingrove Park beautiful
- Making it easy to choose a reusable cup for takeaway drinks
- Get to know...John MacLennan
- Get to know...Sandy Scott
- How Eco-Schools benefits pupils, teachers and communities
- Community gardening for climate, nature and heritage in Cumbernauld
- Tackling the litter emergency to protect our wild isles
- Scotland isn't looking so beautiful. We can change that.
- Get to know... Green Flag Award Judges
- Collaboration and innovation to tackle marine litter
- An introduction to Kinnesswood in Bloom...
- The litter emergency
- Our charity faces the environmental challenges ahead with optimism
- Wrapping up 2022
- Biodiversity - Reflections on COP15
- Small steps to protect biodiversity
- Why Mountains Matter
- It’s not just bees and butterflies on your flowers
- Wet Wipes - What's the Issue?
- Young Reporters on the Route: The Launch of Running Out of Time
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- Getting to know...Kyle Usher
- A busy day for Upstream Battle education
- Planning a Wedding with the Planet in Mind
- 'Disposable' vapes and the damage they cause
- Climate Emergency Training provides positive opportunities for young people
- Making climate action possible for everyone
- Reasons to be positive
- Shotts is ACTing NOW on climate change
- Hope is a Garden
- Do we need the word 'pests' anymore?
- Beautiful Scotland judging - the truth
- Supporting Scotland to be the very greenest destination it can be
- Arbroath - working together, inspiring local climate action and improving lives
- Reflections of a beach manager
- I do like to be beside the seaside
- Climate Action Schools - helping young people take action
- Inspiring and empowering young people
- Climate Ready Classrooms at George Heriot's
- Data drives decisions
- Litter, fines and doing time
- Why our Web Developer Cameron loves being part of Team KSB
- It's only one
- Why join the family of It’s Your Neighbourhood?
- YoungScot Legacy Event
- Why it is the sea and SDG 14 for me
- Litter picking - a surprisingly fun group activity
- Climate Action Skills and positive action for all
- Seeing community groups thrive with Beautiful Scotland and It's Your Neighbourhood
- (What to do on) a dreich morning on the Firth of Clyde
- West Lothian Litter Pickers – How I got involved
- Scotland’s Climate Festival – Seed funding for community action
- Climate Ready Classrooms at St. Paul’s RC High School
- Scottish Book Trust representative joins Pocket Garden judging panel
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- Why I pick up other people's garbage.
- Getting to Know...Colin
- Creative Careers: Spotlight on Heritage #NoWrongPath
- Celebrating Scotland’s best managed green and blue spaces
- Taking small steps towards a more sustainable future
- Caring for our planet
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- Our work on the COP26 Youth Climate Programme
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- Another fine mess – part one
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- Smashing litter picking targets during an unexpected stay in Scotland
- Celebrating our brilliant volunteers
- Designing a pocket garden
- Getting to know... Nicola Smith
- East Haven Together
- It’s time to litter-ly turn anger into action
- Working in partnership to give communities a helping hand to clean up Scotland
- Why Beautiful Scotland is important to Lauder in Bloom
- We can all be climate ready
- Climate Ready Classrooms at Speyside High School
- Taking part in It's Your Neighbourhood
- Bags of opportunity for good
- Getting to know... Eve Keepax
- Lucky to live here
- A year of opportunity ahead
Over the past two decades we have seen what local communities have to offer when it comes to caring for our environment.
This past year has presented challenges like no other. Yet, despite this, volunteers in neighbourhoods across Scotland have come together, with an amazing sense of pride and community ownership to excel as they work with us to combat climate change and to tackle litter and waste.
Our research has shown that in the last year, over 40% of people have spent more time using outside space in their neighbourhoods, reconnecting with their local environment and communities. As a result of this, many people are looking to us for support to help them protect and enhance the places they love.
Covid-19 has forced us all to do things differently. It has created opportunities for us to bring likeminded people together across the nation - despite being so physically apart – in common cause.
As people started to notice the bird song, the changing seasons, the beauty of where they lived, they also clocked the levels of litter, the dog fouling, the unloved patches of their neighbourhoods. And as they did, new opportunities presented themselves to us – the chance to reconnect with our existing audiences and reach new ones to support them to take action. We have found ways to provide interactive training sessions online, to share our campaign materials, survey forms and information more widely, to host Q&A sessions, and to network and engage remotely with our audiences. The appetite and enthusiasm for what we are now offering online has been incredible.
The communities we work with across Scotland have adapted too, developing innovative ways to keep their activities going, and taking on new projects. Although the pandemic is still the focus for many, the climate and nature emergency we are facing is driving a loud and clear call for a green and just recovery as well as more local action.
Fittingly, the theme for our two long-established community environmental improvement initiatives, Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood which we run in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society, this year is ‘climate and nature friendly’.
Over 210 groups, from the Scottish Borders to the Highlands, have registered with us for these initiatives, ensuring the places they care about are looked after under the three pillars of community participation, environmental responsibility and gardening/horticultural achievement. As part of the theme, we have been able to distribute packets of pollinator-friendly seed bombs to them all, to help create a buzz and some blooming beautiful places across Scotland.
Many of these groups are also volunteering to tackle lockdown litter in their neighbourhoods and our iconic beauty spots, surveying, cleaning up and campaigning locally as part of our Clean Up Scotland campaign.
It is clear many of those we support don’t want to return to the old ways of doing things, they want to do more to reconnect with their local neighbourhood and volunteer their time locally.
Our challenge as a charity going forward is to harness this change of emphasis, and to support communities across Scotland in new ways to address the environmental issues which matter to them and us.
Perhaps, now is the time for a different approach – one where the role communities play and the actions they take, make a real difference. Where individual actions can help transform our communities, protect our wildlife and improve our local environments, and at the same time build an improved sense of community cohesion and a purpose of empowerment and wellbeing.
We are here to help you achieve this. As a first step to giving back to your community why not pledge your support for our Summer Clean. Let’s make all of Scotland beautiful again.
First published in The Scotsman on 3 June 2021 during Volunteer's Week