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Community members celebrate a new era for the Children's Wood and North Kelvin Meadow  Picture: Glasgow West End Today
Community members celebrate a new era for the Children's Wood and North Kelvin MeadowGlasgow West End Today

New era for North Kelvin meadow and Children's Wood

Lease secured by community for the next 25 years

The Children's Wood and North Kelvin Meadow have been saved for the next 25 years after the community secured a lease to safeguard the open space from housing development. We find out what challenges now lie ahead for the community.


It was one of the longest-running community campaigns the city has seen, and in the end it was a sweet victory for residents and families who use North Kelvin meadow.

The asset transfer of the former braes football pitches turned urban wilderness has secured the land for the community for the next 25 years.

Authors, actors, TV personalities and political and business figures lent their voices, signatures and social media handles to the cause.

Glasgow City Council that once promoted development on the site, now concedes that the land is for local people to use as they choose.

Ten years or so of active and vociferous campaign and protest is over, and there can be no more worries about what may or may not befall the land.

Challenge

But now the fight is done, campaigners say another challenge may face the communities who treasure an open space on their doorsteps: complacency.

Securing the lease was a sweet victory for the community.
Securing the lease was a sweet victory for the community.

A recent spring festival was an appropriate occasion to celebrate the official granting of the meadow’s new tenure, when a banner was unfurled proclaiming: ‘This land is your land, Let’s all care together’.

Andrea Fisher is one of a small number of staff members now employed by the Children’s Wood and North Kelvin Meadow charity.

As schools and community co-ordinator, she is busy working with up to 30 local schools, nurseries and groups who use the meadow.

'Wonderful'

She takes outdoor play and craft sessions, and helps educate young people about wildlife and environmental issues.

She says it is a wonderful feeling to have security over the meadow, but important work continues apace to secure a legacy for the future.

“We have a small staff who ensure that the space is looked after and is used. But we want people to self-organise.

The next step is to make a working base for staff and visitors.
The next step is to make a working base for staff and visitors.

“We don't need to run everything," she says. “We want to educate people to make this place sustainable and look after it because we can't not use it and in 10 years time say we've completely failed and it's no longer working.

“So we have to really, really look after the sustainability aspect of things now so much more than we used to.”

The chair of the Children’s Wood board, Alison Spurway, says the next step in the new era for the meadow is to make a working base for staff and visitors.

The focus is a brick outbuilding that was built in 1946 to store the equipment needed to maintain the original sports ground.

We want to educate people to make this place sustainable and look after it because we can't not use it and in 10 years time say we've completely failed and it's no longer working.

Andrea Fisher

She said: “We have three bids from architects, and each of them has shown a real passion in this project, and they really want to do it and they want to engage the community.

“Then we've obviously got a big issue about raising money.

“So the more that we can engage the community and give them a sense that 'this land is your land', the better."

The next weeks and months will see the charity reach out again to its community but this time to cultivate a sense of purpose and vision as opposed to fight and protection.

Now the land is secured, the challenge is for people to use it and keep using it, sustainably.

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