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Improving habitats and access

Our plans We have developed Habitat and Access Network Plans which will tackle key threats and gaps in the town’s green network by actively managing 230 ha of urban woodlands, improving the biodiversity of 22 local greenspaces and removing the barriers to access to nine natural heritage sites. The plans prioritise actions which provide the greatest possible community benefit and involvement and will be delivered on wildlife sites owned and managed by North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. We will enable more people to access nature on their doorstep by delivering targeted access improvements, raising awareness of local sites with events and building people’s confidence in using the natural environment. Our approach The project will deliver significant enhancements to Cumbernauld’s habitat network and greenspace access by tackling key threats and opportunities. The development phase facilitated the development of a Habitat Network Plan, an Access Network Plan and an Action Plan in consultation with local stakeholders and the community. The plans have considered the potential for community benefit from, and involvement in, these projects and how this can be

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Connecting young people to nature

Overview Our schools programme will provide opportunities for children to be closely involved in practical projects to create pockets of urban wetland habitat through rain gardens and diversifying areas of amenity grassland with wildflowers. We will work intensively with 96 young people at risk of disengaging from high schools and colleges; each group will take part in a 6-month Natural Connections programme, where they will be supported to develop and deliver environmental improvements to their local greenspaces. These improvements will complement the capital works programme. Teachers from schools across Cumbernauld and North Lanarkshire will take part in workshops and training sessions to build confidence in delivering outdoor learning skills to their students utilising nearby greenspaces. Our approach Our approach to this workstream has been informed by the needs and themes arising from our previous work with young people combined with audience research, consultation and taster sessions carried out as part of the development phase (Appendix 7). These can be summed up as: Building skills and confidence – there is a need to improve skills, create alternative learning opportunities and increase

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Promoting green health and wellbeing

Overview We will build on the Wild Ways Well approach successfully piloted by The Conservation Volunteers and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. This takes a proven methodology – Five Ways to Wellbeing – and combines it with nature to bring added benefits. Through this programme at least 200 people at risk of mental ill-health, such as adults with additional support needs and people at risk of social isolation, will develop skills to use nature to manage their mental health. We will unlock capacity and sustainability through support and training for volunteers, support workers and other organisations. Our approach Issues surrounding poor mental health are on the rise and affect all age groups and areas of society. Poor mental health destroys lives and blights communities. There is still a stigma attached to this issue, with people reluctant to admit they are sufferers and to engage with traditional forms of support – which are often overwhelmed and under-resourced. In Cumbernauld a wide range of groups provide health and social care, and the people they work with are at the greatest risk of poor

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Unlocking community capacity

Overview Our innovative Asset-Based Community Development Approach seeks to get to know people and build relationships with them; from this we can understand the existing assets and connect people who want to take action. This approach is built into all of the project activities and, to facilitate this in areas where engagement is traditionally low, we will link each Project Officer to a specific neighbourhood. Developing skills and unlocking capacity is integrated into all our activities. We will seek to make connections between groups, organisations and initiatives that support environmental improvements and the local community, to avoid duplication and bring added value. Our approach  It is vital when working with communities to understand what is already there before supporting them to access the help they need. Our project focuses on Asset-Based Community Development Approach. Identifying the aspirations, skills and assets of individuals and connecting them to each other will be key to the sustainability and legacy of this project. Connecting people who care enough to make a difference in their neighbourhood creates a shared capacity that is greater than the