If you read my community safety blog regularly you will be aware of the ongoing community engagement work that has been taking place at the Juniors car park. This location was identified as an unsafe and problematic area in terms of Anti-social behaviour and other issues like fly tipping and littering and it has therefore remained a priority for the community safety strategy. I began focusing on this area back in January 2021 when a postal survey was sent to every council tenant within a half mile radius of the Juniors Car Park. The results indicated that local people did want the area to be developed and changed in a positive way and the survey results confirmed a wide array of local aspirations, these included: pop up parks, safe seating with lighting and a community mural were all highlighted as potential projects suitable for implementing at that location. From that positive feedback I have endeavoured to bring all the relevant stakeholders together to look at how we could make some of these aspirations happen and fully involve the community with that process.
The initial challenge is to change the locations perception as being a negative and unsafe place that people don’t want to go to or visit and to transform the area into somewhere that is used constructively for enjoyable community activities. An important aspect to this was to actively listen to the community and establish how they thought the area could be made safer, be better used, and developed into an asset and new facility for local people. To this end we organised a Gather and Play day at the Juniors car park and nearby social club back in October of this year.
This community event was all about participation and imagining the place as being a completely different social space. Our colleagues form Camelon Arts facilitated workshops looking at how the perimeter wall of the football ground could be converted into a community mural, the Tidy, Clean, and Green group provided a pop-up park with children’s games, there was bulb planting and an information stall form frog life. An “all games allowed” activity involving children and young people creating their own street games took place on the car park surface and there was food and refreshments provided by the Camelon Juniors Social Club.
An important Part of the day for myself as the Community Safety Engager was encouraging local people to take part in the consultation table which was located within the pop-up park. Families and children could play with the giant games and other art activities whilst also relaxing at the pop-up park. This provided me with an opportunity to listen to peoples ideas for the future safe development of the area. Three main themes emerged from the days discussions: families would like a play park and a safe play facility for their children, there was significant interest in creating a community wall mural at the football grounds external wall and the security and safety of the location required urgent improvement through the use of better lighting and CCTV.
An outcome form that days community event was a willingness and commitment from the Tidy, Clean and Green Group to lead on a longer-term plan for the wider community development and environmental improvement of the Carmuirs area. As a first step on this journey the Group are cordially inviting local people back round to the Juniors car park this Friday 11th February from 11am-3pm for a Fun for the Future Community event. Our Colleagues at The Conservation Volunteers will be providing an outdoor cooking experience with a fire pit and Kelly kettles, there will be den building equipment for the young people and Tidy, Clean and Green will have a make your own bird feeder activity table. There will be sandwiches and refreshments available for everyone and inside the Social club there will be 4 tabletop discussion themes for the young people and their families to take part in . The four topics will be: Keeping the area safe and secure, designing your own children’s play park, create your own mini wall mural and a table looking at some of the benefits to the community of developing this area into a safe location for families and young people. The local community police will be in attendance along with the Our Place Camelon and Tamfourhill Project, TCV, Go Forth and Clyde, Camelon juniors Social Club, Tidy, Clean and Green Community Group and Camelon Arts Project. I look forward to seeing as many people as possible coming along to have Fun for the Future.
This is a very exciting time for the Carmuirs area, the new Tidy, Clean and Green creative messaging project started this week ,so look out for new signage and positive environmental messaging appearing in the community created by local young people. In addition, the Tidy, Clean and Green Group will be managing a local environmental consultant who will be delivering activities and working with the community to agree a wider plan for improving the Carmuirs area and focusing upon the Juniors car park and the old Brown Street Park. This project has been made possible through funding that the group secured from the Community Renewal Fund, and it will be operational up to the end of June. I will feature this exciting new development for the area in next week’s community safety blog.