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November 21, 2012

Park people celebrate

Since the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park came into existence almost a decade ago, one of its defining features has been the prominent role of the many communities that sit within the Park.  In the early days, much of the activity was galvanised through the Park’s Community Futures programme. More recently an independent Community Partnership has been established to organise grass root opinion. At their recent annual gathering, some impressive local work was recognised.


Volunteers from communities within the National Park were honoured at an awards ceremony in Drymen at the weekend.
The awards, which recognise the amazing work being carried out at a grassroots level in communities across the park, were held as part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Community Partnership annual Gathering event.
More than eighty people representing local development trusts, community councils and other community groups got together to share experience, information and to celebrate their successes.
The volunteer awards acknowledge the work of individuals and groups within the park who have contributed greatly to the development and enhancement of their communities.
This year’s winners were Gartmore Hall Development Group for their tireless dedication and success in raising one million pounds to completely refurbish their community hall and Croftamie Community who as a whole have worked together to build a strong and vibrant community in Croftamie – both won the Volunteer Team of the Year award; Callander Youth project who won Initiative of the Year for the redevelopment of their newly acquired Bridgend premises to create an innovative youth hub; Jimmy Quinn and Isla Craig both won Community Volunteer of the Year – Jimmy for his time and commitment in keeping Aberfoyle’s public toilets open and operating in all weathers and Isla from Crianlarich who has driven forward their Crianlarich into Action plan.
The awards are sponsored each year by local businesses and organisations This year’s sponsors included: The Co-operative Group; Forestry Commission Scotland; The Green Welly Stop; Callander Enterprise and Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
Commenting on the winners, chair of the Community Partnership, Celia Burn from Gartocharn said: “These awards are all about acknowledging the fantastic work happening across the park to enhance, promote and develop our communities. The theme of this year’s Gathering event was ‘Realising Your Community Assets’ and there are no greater assets than the people who make our communities what they are.
“The Community Partnership works with individuals, groups and organisations providing support, advice and information to help them achieve their goals.
“When I see the wealth of talent, commitment and determination shown by our winners and all those communities nominated, it illustrates just what a valuable resource we have in our people. And it is essential that we continue to support them and to highlight the work they do.”
“Realising Your Community Assets” was the theme of The Gathering event this year. Speakers included Pam Warhurst from Todmorden in Yorkshire who founded Incredible Edible campaign. Pam inspired the audience to look at ways of growing and eating locally. She was joined by a number of communities from across the National Park who are looking at new and innovative ways of harnessing their community assets to bring direct benefits to Park people.
The audience also found out about Scotland’s Rural Parliament and about the Community Partnership’s new Apprenticeship Project which aims to bring opportunities to young people and small businesses in the Park in the tourism, land and food sectors.
Read more about the Community Partnership