The 30th Craigalmond (Davidson’s Mains) Scout Group is based in Edinburgh. It is a big scout group with over 100 young people in the Beaver, Cub and Scout sections. Each section meets in the Scout Hall in Quality Street Lane, Davidson’s Mains one evening a week.

The Scout section has approx. 30 members between the ages of 10 ½ and 14, and it was the leaders of the section who suggested the scouts get involved in the Young Placechangers Programme. The section programme is structured around activity badges and awards where the young people work to gain specific skills or knowledge. A Young Placechangers project links well to a range of badges such as the World Challenge Award, Local History and Community Impact activity badges.

Several of the young people and leaders were involved in the Future DMS consultation in 2018 where members of the community shared their opinions of the area using the Place Standard and attended a series of consultation events. A Young Placechangers project is a way of doing something practical to improve the area based on the Future DMS report and the young people’s ideas.

Young Placechangers Training event

The Young Placechangers team visited the Scouts at their camp in the grounds of Lauriston Castle and after putting the gazebos up the young people and their leaders spent the afternoon putting Community Placemaking and the Place Standard into action.

We first did some exercise talking about our own favourite places and what makes them our favourites – how do they make us feel? We discussed what we would look for in a great place and tried to chose which place we liked the best looking at five different photos. It wasn’t easy to agree, but surprisingly the photo of a tranquil Loch Lubnaig was the majority’s favourite.

Next, we did some work with the Place Standard. The FutureDMS consultation had thrown up most issues (both positive and negative) in the areas of Streets and Spaces, Natural Space and Play and Recreation. So, in groups the young people drew posters to illustrate what others should look for when assessing the place under the specific theme.

The rest of the afternoon was spent in groups following different routes taking in both streetscapes, parks and greenspace, the path network and the High Street in Davidson Mains. The young people used red and green frames and cameras to identify positive and negative things they came across.

Community Placemaking and the Place Standard

In the FutureDMS consultation the Place Standard provided a framework to structure conversations about place. It allowed local people to think about the physical elements of a place (for example its buildings, spaces, and transport links) as well as the social aspects (for example whether people feel they have a say in decision making). The scoring provided a simple ranking assessment of what is good and bad about the area and showed the different perspectives between adults and young people.

At the Young Placechangers training event we used the Place Standard to frame the practical place evaluation – what should we be looking for when walking in our local area?

On the walk-abouts in the local area the young people used the Community Placemaking questions (what do you like best about this place? What would you like to be able to do in this place?) and the red and green frames to take pictures of good and bad things they came across.

Once back in the gazebo each group considered ideas on how to improve the places they had visited – both short term and cheap options and longer term more costly ideas. They then shared their top three ideas with each other.

Next steps

The Scout group is now working on distilling the place changing ideas from the training event into a few key ideas to share with the wider community at an event in May. They are considering applying for a seedcorn grant to support the event or to turn some of the ideas into practical action in the community – so watch this space!

Find out more about the 30th Craigalmond Scour Group

Find out more about the Future DMS Consultation report

Find out more about the Young Placechangers Programme

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