SiMY works alongside young people and their families in the Townhead and surrounding area of Glasgow to help them achieve their hopes and ambitions for themselves and their community. Activity at SiMY is underpinned by a commitment to experiential learning, which takes place in a range of mainly non-formal and informal settings.

The group wanted to protect and transform a disused a bowling green used by them in the summer months; owned and managed by Glasgow Life.

Two young people and a youth worker took part in a Young Placechangers Residential training weekend in May 2019 and then applied for a Seedcorn and later an Ideas Fund grant to develop their place changing idea

Young Placechangers project in a nutshell

To raise awareness of the Lister Street Bowling Greens, and their plans for it, the group decided to throw a launch party, using the Seedcorn Funds. In preparation. the young people undertook a photography project to capture the changes to the local area since Townhead was redefined as ‘College Lands’ in the City Council plan. The photos were on display on the Greens as people came into the party.

In addition to the bouncy castle, face painter and free food, the group had a stall where they engaged with the public on what the space could/should look like as community space. The Greens were under threat of being sold off to private developers. As one of the few remaining community greenspaces, they wanted to get the community onboard with protecting it and shaping its future. The party was a great success with local families attending and they even got a visit from the then Provost of the City.

“It gave me the confidence to speak to new people and it gave me the confidence to know that I can lead on an event” This young person went onto to complete a Professional Development Award (PDA) in Youth Work emboldened by the experience.

Next, SiMY were awarded an Ideas Fund grant to support a place evaluation process, and the development of the Lister Street Bowling Greens through establishing a Community Development Trust that could take over the lease and management of their Greens. The pandemic prevented evaluation sessions with young people and the wider community happening, but SiMY were able to keep the focus on setting up the Development Trust. A Tap ‘o the Toon working group made up of relevant people from the community met monthly, and in January 2021, the Tap O' The Toon Development Trust became a registered charity (SCIO) with an aim to provide recreational and sporting facilities for the people who live in the Townhead and Ladywell community council area. The young people were involved and kept up to date with the progress at their SiMY sessions and via facebook.

The young person who took on most of the work for SiMY said:

“As the young person who took on this role, I learned how to spread my time between work and volunteering and how to manage my timekeeping. I also learned how to plan, organise, and attend meetings, take minutes, and communicate with members of the community. I also learned a lot about myself and grew more confident in myself personally and in my work assignment.”

The project included eight 12–25 year-olds from the SiMY contact group, 10 community members who were part of the working group and 50 community members from the wider community and Townhead Community Council.

Community Placemaking and the Place Standard

The young people used the approaches learnt at the Residential on one of the stalls at the launch party. They were inspired by thoughts and discussions about what makes a great place. Visitors to the stall were shown a range of pictures of different uses and activities which could take place at the Bowling Green and asked to vote for their favourites. Good ideas were noted on T-shirts shaped notes; bad ideas on pants shapes… the ideas were then displayed on a washing line!

The Placemaking principles inspired one of the youth workers involved to work with Photovoice (a charity that uses ethical photography to promote positive social change, and show people that they have a voice) during lockdowns and restrictions. Representatives from SiMY also took part in the Block-by-Block approach training with a view to using this approach with young people and the wider community when developing plans for the Bowling green site.

Next steps and new partnerships

The young people of SiMY  have worked with the Community Council, Lister Street Bowling Club, SiMY Community Development, Glasgow City Council, Council representatives, and the wider community on this project. The site is now safe from commercial development and will progress in a way the local community can influence.  SiMY youth groups have more control over when they can meet in this safe and secluded space; and more community events are planned.The ToTT Development Trust will also be able to undertake other community led initiatives in the area.

Find out more More Young Placechangers case studies

greenspace scotland engages and empowers young people through the Young Placechangers programme.

Young Placechangers puts young people in the lead role – bringing together the wider community to look at local spaces and plan improvements. The Young Placechangers programme has used a co-production approach to develop and pilot a training and support programme enabling young people to transform both the place they live, their relationship to it and the wider community.

Young Placechangers