The focus for groups taking part in It’s Your Neighbourhood are the three themes of community participation, environmental responsibility and gardening achievement, which accord with the spectrum of our activity. The greatest emphasis for It's Your Neighbourhood is community participation.
Community participation is worth 40% of the total points (40/100). It’s all about working together for the benefit of the local area, through things like:
- Being inclusive – the group is a part of the community and has an openness which enables any member of the community to support, contribute to or have a say in its work if they wish.
- Engaging – the people involved with the group’s activities are part of the community and are actively trying to involve other community members.
- Local ownership and direction – the decisions about what needs doing and how things are done are taken by the group after consulting the local community.
- Making a difference to local people – evidence that the group’s work has the support of local people and is improving aspects of their daily life.
Environmental responsibility is worth 30% of the total points (30/100). It’s all about caring for your local area’s environment, though things like:
- Promoting responsible dog-ownership to reduce dog fouling.
- Supporting our Clean Up Scotland campaign to reduce littering, dog-fouling, abandoned cars, graffiti, flyposting and flytipping.
- Practising environmentally responsible approaches, for example by using peat-free compost, composting of green waste, minimising water usage, and establishing local recycling.
- Developing community green spaces by increasing the use of the spaces and developing the skills and involvement of users.
- Conservation activities such as supporting local wildlife through installation of bird/bat boxes, log piles or bee hives; planting of pollinator friendly plants; re-introducing native species or controlling non-native/invasive species; and creating new habitats or renovating existing ones such as ponds, wildflower meadows, and coppicing.
- Efforts to encourage a sense of local heritage, for example through education and heritage-related activities such as tree trails, history leaflets, and signage/interpretation boards.
Gardening achievement is worth 30% of the total points (30/100). It’s all about beautifying your area through good gardening practices such as:
- Good plant choices for the local conditions (soil, climate, aspect), which suit the natural and built environment; a good balance between seasonal and permanent planting.
- Appropriate quality of maintenance, for example good pruning, mulching, and a lack of weeds.
- Creativity – planting that shows originality and local flavour.
- Development of community gardening activities, for example developing areas in partnership with village halls, church groups, allotment societies, residents’ associations; and undertaking group planting events for window boxes, hanging baskets, bulbs, and wildflower areas.
- Taking on the maintenance of neglected areas such as barren verges or waste ground.
More detail can be found in the 2017 Guidance for It’s Your Neighbourhood entrants.