Easter Carmuirs Park is a tremendous local green space and as a newcomer to the area I can see the success there has been with its development through the Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill Project. Through previous community involvement and the support of The Green Action Trust (Formerly the Central Scotland Green Network Trust) and Falkirk Council the park has an excellent system of paths which are marked out by solar powered lights and robust new seating has been installed. The Park provides a host of facilities, including four marked out football pitches, children’s play equipment and the Easter Carmuirs wooded Hill which is used by the local primary school for outdoor learning activities. Other Groups which make regular use of the Park are the Carmuirs Woodcraft Folk and The Conservation Volunteers. This is a community resource which encourages health and wellbeing and is a great location to socialise with friends and family, go for a walk, exercise the dog, and take part in sports and play activities.
I know there are sporadic issues with anti-social behaviour and that has lead to mess and damage, there has also been nasty incidents in the park which have necessitated the involvement of the Police and I am equally aware that local people , parents in particular, have concerns about the safety of their children when using the park and that it is not unknown for there to be parties and late night revelling around fires. I often take the view that those causing the problems can become part of the solution and if we involve the wider community with the management and development of the Park then we can ensure it is used appropriately and for the benefit of everyone.
The positives however are significant , we already have groups of volunteers clearing the area of litter and broken glass, we are about to launch a publicity campaign backed by action to address the ongoing problem of dogs mess and we have the recent litter pick organised with The Conservation Volunteers. The Park will also be one of the target areas for the Tidy, Clean and Green initiative.
As the Community Safety Engager, I am involved with the next phase of the Parks development and I have recently confirmed a plan of action for involving the local community with this second phase of activity. I will be targeting the young people who make use of the existing MUGA , this facility is badly located, it causes problems for local residents and lacks proper facilities, I am very aware that flood lighting is a priority which was identified through the first community consultation about the Park back in 2017. I would add that a sheltered social space is required for our local young people to gather safely. I will be working closely with the Community Learning & Development Services youth Outreach staff in order to engage with the young people who use the park and involve them with the relocation and design of a new MUGA and associated facilities. We have begun discussions with the Community Sports Hub to look at how informal and formal sports coaching and activities could be provided from a new MUGA facility. I have raised the possibility of replicating the successes of the Late-Night Leagues which attracts young people on a Friday night to engage in sport, football in particular, and divert them away from other less healthy weekend pursuits. Community growing and allotments could be another facet which can be progressed and these facilities could also used by the school, the community hubs and other organisations. The children’s play area could be much improved and perhaps also better located and I would like to hear what families and children think , for example could we have a seated picnic area with a wider choice of play equipment, and how can the local school and other community organisations generally make better use of the park.
The intention is to support a group of local people to take this forward in partnership with Green Action Trust, Falkirk Council and all of the relevant community groups and organisations. My first priority is to establish a positive rapport with the young people using the MUGA and the different groups that use the park and to listen to their views and opinions and for this to be conducted with community safety being at the front and centre of these discussions. Closely related to this Project could be the formation of a community safety group for Camelon and Tamfourhill and I have had encouraging responses from various services to support this and be actively involved with this Group. I would be hoping to link the safety group in with the work of Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, and I will discuss this in greater detail in a future community safety blog.