Our project’s aim to work in practical ways towards becoming a carbon neutral community will not only make an important contribution to the future environment, it also provides a focus around which we can come together as a community to work as a team.
Other benefits of the community woodland are to provide leisure and amenity value to the community, with paths for walks and a play area for families with children.
Working on creating and maintaining this woodland will improve physical and mental health with the resulting sense of well-being for volunteers, as well as for users who will be able to find relaxation enjoying walking in it.
It would also provide another biodiversity habitat, since Collieston and Slains is an important site for both common and rare migratory birds. Interest in wildlife, with time spent in the fresh air observing, has the additional outcome of a sense of wellbeing at any age – with added educational benefit for children in our community.
The woodland will become a resource for education about the environment, as well as about climate change and low carbon living – with the outcome that we will all be better informed to make choices about lifestyle.
Planting this relatively small area of land will be a demonstration illustrating that much larger areas will be required in the future if Collieston and Slains is to meet its ambition to become carbon neutral, but it is an important start which will raise awareness within the community of the impact of commuting, encouraging use of public transport, car sharing, home-working and other alternatives to car use. Another outcome will be to reduce costs for individuals in the community.
The building will be a centre of this project, and as such will demonstrate what can be achieved even in an old building, with high specification insulation, ground source heating, and renewable energy. The outcome will be increased education on the environment, climate change and low carbon living, through provision of information on display boards.
A café will have the very positive outcome of reducing isolation, and fostering growth of friendships. Several individuals expressed again at our open day that they feel lonely especially through the winter, and would value a drop-in place to meet others, which a café would provide.
There is a lack of employment opportunities here without commuting, and the café will provide jobs open to local people, starting with a few, and we hope increasing as the café expands its customer base.
In addition, we plan to provide training opportunities in the café for teenagers, and the possibility of part time work to build up their work experience.
There are a number of artists living within the Collieston and Slains community, and the project will provide space to exhibit and sell their work, as well as encouraging the artistic aspirations of children growing up in the community – with the outcome of increasing appreciation of art for everyone.
Likewise musicians – there are musicians living in Collieston and Slains, playing in three different bands, and this project will provide opportunities for live music, both informally and in concerts, with the outcome of fostering increasing enjoyment of, and participation in, music for all ages in the community.
A further outcome for the community will be appreciation of our heritage. The history of the area goes back to the fifth century, and various aspects of this history and heritage will be illustrated in wall displays and through the building itself.
All these positive outcomes for the community were highlighted at our recent open day.