Our local community in North Kelvin, Glasgow,UK, has been campaigning for years to preserve a precious piece of wild land in the middle of the area. The most recent initiative, The Children’s Wood, has won numerous awards in its three years of activism. It operates on the cutting edge of world-wide research which shows that children – and their families – enjoying the Great Outdoors together is wonderfully effective in promoting physical, mental, and community wellbeing. Our local wild space is regularly used all year round by numerous community groups, eg a number of local schools are now on side with an impressive range of educational programmes centred on outdoor learning.
This year, the Charity Commission recognised The Children’s Wood by awarding it charitable status, to the delight of all local residents.
photo: Anne Whitaker
You would think, wouldn’t you, that our local City Council – which likes to promote Glasgow’s “Dear Green Place” image – would be proud of having such an impressive community initiative right here. You might even think, mightn’t you, if they were savvy politicians, that they could be claiming some of the credit for this world-class initiative, using its success to attract positive interest – maybe even money – in promoting their Glasgow’s Green Year 2015 campaign?
Not a bit of it!!!
No interest whatsoever has been shown. The council persist in describing our vibrant piece of community land as “disused football pitches”. Here, in the words ofThe Children’s Wood website, is a summary of the current state of play regarding the sale of the land – the City Council’s preferred option, opposed by 90% of local residents:
“Glasgow City Council is run by a Labour administration. It is the decision of the Labour party to sell the land. They could at any point throw out the application on various grounds, including the length of time it is taking New City Vision to move forward. It has now been 7 years since New City Vision became the preferred developers, and 3 years since the initial planning application was submitted. In the mean time the community of Maryhill and North Kelvin have been kept hanging around while NCV stop and start.
We are not supported by the Glasgow Labour party and believe that they have not engaged with us on this issue. It is vitally important that you get in touch with your local councillor and other politicians on this issue and ask for their support on this important matter and to put pressure on the council to throw out this application and support our plans to keep it wild. 3,000 local people were surveyed by Glasgow University over a year ago and the results revealed that over 90% do not want building on the land.”
The Children’s Wood have just made a short film which weaves research, activism, and images of children and adults using the land, into a vivid and clear statement of commitment to an ongoing project which can be used as a template ANYWHERE in the world where there are wild spaces within cities.
Do watch it!
Such spaces are in danger of being swallowed up by the power of commercial interests, who cannot see benefit except in terms of money. We are challenging this attitude in our community. We need help and support in fighting against our own City Council, sad though it is to have to see this statement in cold print.
If you would like to help us by sending in, from anywhere in the world, letters of objection to selling the land – find out how to do that HERE
If you would like to give us a donation to help fund our campaign, as well as our ongoing community projects, click HERE.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Do leave a comment with your thoughts.
650 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page
8 thoughts on “Preserving wild land and Nature: community versus politicians – Glasgow, UK”
I was there today with my little girl – lovely space. It’ll be devastating if it goes, I was thinking today how many new things I was noticing popping up- the cherry blossom and all those blue bells will be stunning next year.
I keep seeing it referred to as a green space instead of a wild space, with the arguments being that the botanics provides a similar space for kids. But I doubt they’d have taken kindly to my little girl running about with a wheel barrow, digging and climbing on all the trees and ropes at the botanics today.
Thanks so much for this comment! I agree with you – we need somewhere where kids can run a wee bit wild…
with slow internet, it’s been difficult to load the page.. and now to leave a comment.. (may i blame that on the nodes?!)
i thought immediately of pauline’s post from australia, and thankfully the search functions work better than loading pages… enjoy the story, and maybe the same thing can happen in your community:
Many thanks for this, Lisa – and I do hope you are feeling better…
Thanks so much for posting the link and for supporting our bit of community activism! If you could post on the link to our post to any of your contacts, I would be most grateful.
ps – I’ve just been through to the Gnome Gatherers site. It’s just brilliant! Many many thanks for posting our activity on their site, Lisa! I love the gnomes and will be telling my friends in Glasgow about such an inspired piece of community activism…..
Interesting that this still is being an issue. You would think… Ah, well.
I thought of you last week when I read this truly horrifying article in “The Guardian.” Have you heard of this? It’s just starting to make waves over here. I can’t remember where I first read it, but references are turning up more often.
I keep going back to the quotation I have on my About page from Wittgenstein: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” No doubt the same people who would eliminate buttercups from the dictionary would eliminate fields of buttercups for children to play in.
Yes, Linda, I had heard of this and was as horrified as you are! I’ve shared the article on my Facebook page. Thanks.
…from Carole Bone via email:
What a fabulous film. Being a Gran to Leah who gets so much outdoor activity being so close to a wood and nature in so many ways I hadn’t given a lot of thought to how some children just don’t get to play outdoors in nature. A very insightful and down to earth (if you’ll forgive the pun) film and so wonderful to see that over 150 people make such a great effort to keep this valuable community resource. I can see it’s an effort that is a joy too. Thanks for letting me see it!
Carole, you are welcome! I’m glad to say that this post has attracted a lot of attention – especially via Facebook Shares, thanks Everyone! – and the Planning Application from the Children’s Wood was submitted earlier this week.It now remains to be seen whether our local SNP MP will be able to influence the Scottish Government in our favour…the previous Labour MP was less than helpful to say the least…