Aberdeen was well represented at this week’s IYN event in Stirling. Fifteen city organisations won awards and Aberdeen provided two of the keynote speakers.
Sandy Scott from Aberdeen City Council gave an interesting account of his experiences as a Beautiful Scotland judge. He stressed that he and his fellow judges likes to see passion, a sense of place and history and lots of community involvement in projects and organisations – especially from youngsters.
Sandy offered lots of practical advice for those being considered for IYN or Beautiful Scotland awards:
- be prepared for visiting assessors – have some brollies to hand or water bottles on hot days
- encourage as many as possible to come along and have their say
- point up ties to local heritage and traditions
- use interpretation panels and photos
- don’t be afraid of showing some humour
- get the next generation and schools involved if possible
- show off your pride and your passion for your site
- demonstrate examples of recycling and repurposing
- provide evidence of all year round activities
- provide examples of press coverage and other publicity events
- apparently scones and pancakes often play their part in successful visits!
Wendy Gibson from the Slopefield Allotments Association gave a great account of their history and work towards achieving their outstanding award. They have worked hard at site and association improvements including:
- adding a pond and wet area.
- planting areas of wild flowers
- inviting local councillors to their community days
- developing their communal area and repurposed James Hutton Hut
- holding seed swap days and awards events – including welly-throwing!
- exploiting plotters links to business and community resources
- working with their local primary school on visits and curricular activities
- establishing bio-diversity partnerships and projects
- seeking advice from IYN assessors and representatives
- bribing Community Sunday volunteers with tea and cake after work sessions!