How can communities help to find and select restoration projects?

Riverwoods Community Engagement

The Riverwoods community engagement project offers an exciting opportunity for communities to envision the protection and restoration of their local riverbank woodlands. It aims to foster stronger connections and active involvement among community members in protecting and enhancing their local areas.

One of the key challenges with the Community Engagement Strategy is the fact that approximately 50% of land in Scotland is privately owned by around 432 landowners. While the project spans across Scotland, we are particularly interested in collaborating with individuals and groups who may have had limited access or previously lacked the opportunity to have their voice heard.

Why this is important

This project places special emphasis on inclusivity and active participation, providing a platform for local people to share their hopes, concerns, and build upon each other's ideas. Through a series of workshops, our aim is to facilitate meaningful discussions, identify challenges, and collectively unlock innovative solutions.

Key questions we want to explore:

  • How can landowners be encouraged to see communities as an asset?
  • How can we understand their reservations and mitigate against this?
  • How can communities improve how they are constituted and organised, with knowledge, skills, and expertise for involvement in land management/restoration, appreciation, and use of the countryside?
  • How can confidence be built in engagement between communities and landowners?

At Involve, we have a track record of helping to put people at the heart of decision making, such as organising the first UK-wide citizens' assembly on climate change and recently hosting The People's Assembly for Nature. We have also supported numerous local authorities across the UK in engaging the public in climate decision-making. What excites us most about this project is the opportunity to empower local communities to share their hopes and aspirations on this nuanced topic, with the aim of having a genuine influence on the overall vision and impact of the Riverwoods initiative.

Areas of focus for learning:

·    Identifying and mitigating any barriers to community engagement.

·    Strengthening and supporting community involvement in Riverwoods.

·    The impact that communities can support Riverwoods to make

For further details contact our engagement lead, Ruth.