Renfrewshire Council

Investing in local people and communities

Nicola Drummond reflects on the positive impact of our community safety partnership team in Renfrewshire communities.

Image of Nicola Drummond "Local people have so many great ideas - that just need some funding and guidance. That's exactly what both our developing communities project and the green spaces, parks and play areas and villages investment fund have been able to do for Renfrewshire's communities. It's grown bigger than I could have imagined, but it's so rewarding to be able to help so many people in our communities transform their local areas".

Nicola is the lead officer for community capacity building within the communities and public protection team and is proud of all their great work and achievements. She explains more about their key role:

"Working in collaboration with communities is a key part of what we do. Our developing communities project encourages learning and confidence building so people can make changes to their local areas through participation and engagement. 

"We have established a working partnership with communities, and everyone is encouraged to feedback their views and help shape local projects. All the volunteers' work is shared and celebrated online, and this has often led to developing bonds and stronger ties between communities.

"Among the partnership's successes have been our 'Team Up to Clean Up' and 'Winter Warriors' campaigns and the massive improvements made through the green spaces, parks and play areas and villages investment fund.

"A total of 73 projects have benefitted from the fund to date, with almost every community in Renfrewshire seeing improvements including new community gardens, upgraded play parks or revitalised nature reserves and new outdoor gyms.

"We've helped groups transform play areas in Glencoats Park, Ferguslie, Howwood, Glenburn, Elderslie and Bridge of Weir and created an interactive play experience in Bargarran - the first-of-its-kind in Scotland. We've even more to come this year in places like Kilbarchan, Lochwinnoch, Ferguslie Park Gardens and Maxwellton in Paisley.

"We've supported local people to bring nature reserves back to life in areas such as Jenny's Well in Paisley, Teucheen Woods in Inchinnan and Newshot in Erskine, helped create a sensory garden and labyrinth at Erskine Community Garden, and gifted maintenance tools to the West End Growing Grounds, and Ferguslie and Corseford groups to support their environmental works.

"I could go on and on about the amazing projects we've supported and the incredible people I have met as it really does make my job so worthwhile".

At the start of the year, the developing communities project was shortlisted in the category for 'Strong and Sustainable Communities' at the 2022 COSLA Awards. A well-deserved achievement.

Nicola said, "Being shortlisted for a COSLA Excellence award really reminded us of the value of what we do. I was delighted to see our colleagues gain that recognition for their dedication and hard work."

"When the £1.87million investment fund was first allocated, and this has since gone up to more than £2million, my first thought was that we'd struggle to spend it - but I should never have underestimated the drive and ambition of our local communities.

"We dedicate so much time to working with local community groups, volunteers and other teams within the Council. As the fund has grown, more and more people are coming forward with ideas. This is fantastic but sadly we are almost at the limit of the investment fund now.

"We did receive a boost in the recent council budget, so we are able to support the delivery of community groups aspirations for a while longer. We also have funding put aside for our 'Team Up to Clean Up' volunteers and funds for environmental projects in schools".

The latest projects set to be put forward for approval include a new track for cycling, skateboarding or scooters in Thomas Shanks Park, a new irrigation system for Robertson Park Bowling Club and a social garden in Lochwinnoch.

Nicola added, "If you've got an idea, then please get in touch with me and the team and we'll do all we can to support you. It might not come from the investment fund, but we'll point you in the right direction and be there to support you throughout.

For more information on the fund go to the Green Spaces, Parks and Play Areas and Villages Investment Fund webpage.

Published on Wednesday 25 May 2022