Celebrating those who protect and enhance our neighbourhoods

The efforts of almost 200 groups from right across Scotland have been acknowledged by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful at an online seminar yesterday, 12 November 2020.

Annually Keep Scotland Beautiful runs two community environmental improvement programmes in partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society; the competitive Beautiful Scotland campaign and the It’s Your Neighbourhood initiative.

In total 197 groups, those who would in previous years have been out creating and maintaining community gardens or allotments, looking after habitats for wildlife and adopting streets, have been issued with Certificates of Recognition for the work volunteers and supporters did manage to carry out to brighten up and pull their neighbourhoods together during this year’s health pandemic.

Faced with the challenges of 2020, there has never been a more important time to recognise and celebrate the achievements of communities and individuals across Scotland.  Throughout lockdown and the following months, groups have worked tirelessly to improve their neighbourhoods through horticulture, environmental responsibility and working in partnership for the benefit of residents, visitors and our natural environment. 

Despite circumstances this year, 47 new entrants were welcomed to the network, and although judging and mentoring visits were not able to take place due to restrictions across Scotland, groups were still supported with online seminars, networking events, question and answer sessions and a weekly e-newsletter.

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful said, “We know that lockdown resulted in many people reconnecting with green and blue spaces local to them.  Yet, it has also been a particularly challenging time for the communities who strive every year to protect and enhance the places they live and work in. 

“We have been amazed by the desire of communities, volunteers and local authorities to stay connected, motivated and inspired by each other, all with a steadfast determination to do things to make a difference, even if this had to be done differently this year.   

“I’d like to thank them all for the efforts they have made to keep Scotland beautiful and support the green recovery.

Although many of the entrants had to stop or curtail their planned activities for the year, we have been blown away by what they have managed to achieve – whether that be setting up a food bank, encouraging and supporting others to grow their own, creating virtual garden tours, connecting their members through online catch ups and keeping their neighbourhoods bright and cheerful – so many real examples of what a Scottish ‘20 minute neighbourhood’ could look like. 

Andrea Van Sittart, RHS Head of Community Outreach said: “It’s truly inspiring that so many Scottish communities continued to support others in need this year. From a phone box larder in Muthill to planter kits for others in Inverkip, the groups have shown incredible creativity and ingenuity responding to the needs of their diverse communities through this challenging time. Congratulations to all groups on their amazing efforts.

If you’d like to join the network in 2021 check out the website for inspiration and details on how to get involved www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/BeautifulScotland or www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/IYN

13 November 2020

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