Better Outdoors – growing in your community
A grassroots campaign to support communities in Scotland emerging from COVID-19
As Scotland emerges from COVID-19, we have a chance to build a greener, fairer, and more resilient society and economy. Growing and nature-based activities in our communities have a vital role in recovery and renewal, working together, with nature, for a more equitable and hopeful future. We find ourselves with a growing role to play in providing safe outdoor spaces and activities for our communities but how?
Better Outdoors is a campaign – a call for action – for all of us involved in coordinating and delivering growing and nature-based activities to come together across Scotland. To recognise and build on the experiences we have had, during the pandemic, to demonstrate we are able and ready to operate safely, with restrictions and guidelines as required, to welcome people back and invite new people to get involved, to get growing and ‘grow back stronger’. The time is now to secure our role as a healthy outdoor asset for our communities, to raise our status and our capacity to flourish, and to promote what we do so that everyone in Scotland is able to participate and benefit.
- Now is the time for action- our research demonstrates grassroots are keen and ready to participate in a positive, action focused campaign.
- Hundreds of projects across Scotland want to build their capacity to support recovery and ‘regrowth’ starting with tackling social isolation and positive health and wellbeing.
- Many more people want to be outdoors, improve their health, grow food, and get involved in their community:
- Growing and working in nature offers a wide range of opportunities, for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to participate.
- More organisations want to participate, moving some activities and services from indoors to outdoors, including schools, youth work and work in community centres. [See our sister campaign led by greenspace Scotland Better Outside https://www.greenspacescotland.org.uk/News/better-outside-using-our-spaces-more ]
- Outdoor and nature-based activities are proven to support recovery of health and well being and to reconnect with and build community resilience.
- During the pandemic, we have demonstrated, that when we could operate, our work supported those adversely impacted by COVID-19. Many projects have shown they can adapt quickly, with extra care and vigilance, time and resource.
- The necessity to play our part in addressing climate and nature emergencies is becoming more urgent and we have an opportunity to learn how to fully participate in a green recovery.
- Growing access to nature on our doorstep: community growing projects of all different shapes and sizes are experienced at operating safe organised activities in the local area, with no need to travel to access nature.
- Community growing is ‘by nature’ an equitable activity; we can reach out to ensure we engage with the diversity our community represents, and people with little or no access to local outdoor activity.
- Our sector is proven to effectively address many public health issues implement other public health issues: including obesity, diabetes and poor mental health. It underpins our resilience to disease, and can support recovery, in dignified and supportive ways.
- Respite for carers is a call we also need to answer. Sites can be safe places for people, of all ages and abilities, to reconnect positively with nature and community.
- Never has the need for greenspace been more recognised by both grassroots and policy makers, let’s build a greener and fairer Scotland together.
Why Participate in Better Outdoors?
- Let your community know that you are part of a Scotland wide network
- Take a stance together on the role we can and do play in our community.
- Raise awareness with local people and partners of the value of your activity as a local asset.
- Demonstrate that you are an open and welcoming site and that there are opportunities for new people to get involved. Recruit more volunteers.
- Show that risks and opportunities have been considered, and preparations have been put in place to meet the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. Giving more volunteers, the Board, partners, funders, and yourselves more confidence.
- Keep on top of the changes and opportunities to increase activity when it is appropriate to do so.
- Share practical advice and support from other projects and partners across Scotland on opening and running activities as we open up during this growing season
- Consider and revise the vision for your project, demonstrating that increased participation in your community can address issues like climate and nature opportunities, a challenging economy and food insecurity.
- Raise opportunities, through a shared vision, to work, both in your area and areas nearby and to collaborate with other projects and communities.
- Use this communication platform for consistent messaging to funders, partners, and the public on the asset we are to our communities and how we can get more people involved and ‘better outdoors’.
Better Outdoors – Taking Part
Log onto www.getgrowingscotland.org and email for the pack, share experiences and ask for more information.
The Better Outdoors Pack includes:
- Logo for your signage, communications, website and social media, to use where appropriate
- Safety Signage to personalise and download for your site.
- FAQ – what to ask ourselves as a project: are we ready and robust enough? Can we tell people why and how we are opening and what we are contributing to our community?
- Template risk assessment and tips for assessing and communicating risk: a strong generic assessment and checklist that has input from professional body, looking at risk, insurance, legal issues including who has responsibility, where is the risk, guidance on thinking it through.
- C-19 Emergence Checklist, for people organising and or running activities: use it to ensure your risk process is robust, embedding lessons learned from good practice examples of resilience and health and safety.
- Support for new practices with risk assessment and examples of booking and sign in systems, ways to safely meet needs of participants while they are on a site.
Better Outdoors will have regular updates on www.getgrowingscotland.org including:
- COVID-19 guidance and example of good practice, adjustments and resetting for safer operations.
- Tips and ideas to share onsite and online. Contribute your tips too.
- Advice sheets, for when guidance makes this possible, on topics including: Making our spaces more welcoming to support mental wellbeing; Eating and Sharing Food Safely.
- People sharing their experiences of reconnecting outdoors through growing and nature activities.
- Funding ideas and tips
- Sharing ways to operate year-round, including growing and shelter. Continue to share updates from testing of prototype outdoor shelter.
- Opportunities through UK wide partnerships to add your voice to support to a wider movement for our mutual benefit.
Partner organisations can also participate in Better Outdoors, supporting the communities you represent and serve to benefit from growing and nature-based activities:
- Use the logo and call to action on your website and through social media.
- Share the information with your network.
- Contribute to the Better Outdoors through connecting with participating groups and projects and supporting their work.
- Help our network flourish. Work with your partners, at local and national levels, to support the development and sustainability of community growing and nature sites and activities.