Home Community Plan and Neighbourhood Plans Our Place Our Plan - Strutherhill and Birkenshaw

Our Place Our Plan - Strutherhill and Birkenshaw

Our Neighbourhood Plan for Strutherhill and Birkenshaw (Annual Progress Report 2021–2022)


Strutherhill and Birkenshaw is one of the neighbourhoods identified by the South Lanarkshire Community Planning Partnership to test a new collective approach to tackling inequalities, taking preventative action and improving the lives of local people. This work has its roots in the Community Empowerment Act which requires the CPP to develop a neighbourhood plan along with communities and to improve outcomes where this is needed the most.

Neighbourhood planning activity is being delivered using a solution focused, asset based approach to build community confidence, increase community involvement and to bring about lasting improvements through community led decision making.

The area encompasses Strutherhill North, Strutherhill North West, Strutherhill South East, Strutherhill South West and Strutherhill West. Strutherhill and Birkenshaw has a population of 3,559. 53% of the population are female and 47% are male.

The area has 1,602 households

  • 322 lone adult households
  • 259 households with dependent children
  • 209 lone adults with dependent children
  • 209 children aged under 16 in lone parent households

Community assets include:

  • 2 primary schools (1 community wing)
  • 1 nursery
  • 1 church with lettable space
  • 2 play areas
  • 2 MUGA’s (Multi use games arenas)
  • Playing fields
  • Access to a natural woodland and a Friends of group
  • 2 youth projects
  • Women's Guild
  • Scouts and Army Cadets
  • Breakfast clubs and after-school care
  • Pre five and family focused groups
  • Community based café with wrap around services provided


  • In October 2017 the South Lanarkshire Community Planning Partnership agreed to test a new collective approach to tackling local inequalities and improving the lives of local people.
  • In November 2017 an awareness raising event was held involving residents contributing to community life and those working in the neighbourhood.
  • The community engagement process is co-designed with local residents. The four big questions were devised.
  • Our Place Our Plan survey opened in November 2017 and closed in February 2018, 106 households participated.
  • March 2018 the Community Group is established. Ten priorities themes identified through the survey form the neighbourhood plan. Thematic working groups are formed.
  • May 2018 early actions are agreed. Ongoing deliberative priority setting has been a key feature of neighbourhood planning activity since.
  • March 2018 £10,000 is secured from the Lottery. This is aligned to support the delivery of early actions in the Plan.
  • A participatory budgeting approach was used to allocate funds. 101 residents cast their votes 21 projects were proposed and 6 new projects were designed and delivered.
  • A further two rounds of participatory budgeting activity took place in 2019 (201 votes) and 2020.
  • January 2019 the Neighbourhood plan is launched.
  • Community Group and working groups continued to meet regularly, working collaboratively to bring the neighbourhood plan to life. Post the first lockdown the group resumed with online meetings.


In 2020/21, £4,200 was allocated to the Strutherhill and Birkenshaw area to help deliver activities associated with the Neighbourhood Plan priority themes.

The Community Group were actively involved in devising every aspect of the participatory budgeting process, including engagement approaches, setting criteria, considering proposal arrangements and promotion.

Covid-19 restrictions were a huge consideration but the group were fully committed to involving the community in a meaningful way and making sure this was not compromised due to a lack of direct contact. With this in mind the group decided to undertake a devolved approach to participatory budgeting. Established local groups and organisations already contributing to community wellbeing were approached to secure their involvement. The groups and their core activity was then considered in the public vote, and funds were allocated based on the proportion of votes received. Proposals were then developed based on funds awarded and group priorities. The Participatory Budgeting Charter was used to plan participatory budgeting a combination of on line voting and telephone contact was undertaken to maximise participation.

  • 192 votes were cast
  • 7 groups received funding

All funded projects and proposals will be monitored against agreed outcomes when activities are fully delivered.

Priority Progress that has been achieved

1 More leisure and social opportunities

• Strutherhill and Birkenshaw Youth project are providing bushcraft activities encouraging young people to embrace the outdoor develop new skill and reconnect with peers develop a youth led programme of activities supported by participatory budgeting.

• The Community group are at the early stages of developing a bike initiative.

• Birkenshaw Women’s Guild received participatory budgeting funding to help reintroduce and sustain their activities, helping to reduce social isolation.

2 Physical environment improvements

• Discussions are underway with Housing and Technical Resources and Grounds service regarding the positive use of unused and derelict land.

• Participatory budgeting funding is invested in play park development, design proposals will be influenced by community consultation planned for autumn 2021.

• Friends of Morgan Glen receive participatory budgeting funds to support a wider programme of outdoor activities.

3 Easier to get about/moving around

• Larkhall and District Volunteer Group secured external funding from Pathways for All “Smarter Choices Smarter Places” to sustain and extended the shopping bus service. Participatory budgeting funding is being used for publicity to promote the service.

4 Greater community safety

• Sites synonymous with fly tipping and anti-social behaviour are being considered for development.

5 Stronger and better communities

• The Community Group decide to invest participatory budgeting money in established groups, to enable current activities to be built upon.

6 Housing improvements

• Two new house building sites are approved. This will provide 58 new social rented homes in the area. Housing and Technical resources are also commencing phase 1 of external fabric upgrades to existing houses.

7 Better employment and business opportunities

• Stakeholders and partners are all working together to develop actions.

8 Better financial wellbeing

• Weekly breakfast packs are provide to local families by the Machan Trust funded by participatory budgeting.

9 Better education and training opportunities

• Stakeholders and partners are all working together to develop actions.

10 Health improvements

• Craigbank Primary school received participatory budgeting funding to deliver parental workshops delivered by Barnardos. The workshops aim to improve children’s ability to develop healthy relationships and assist parents with understanding and managing children’s behaviour.

Development plans

The Community Group have been working together to identify realistic and achievable goals in 2021/2022 agreed actions include:

  • Providing practical support to established groups as restrictions ease. As groups begin to resume activity support will be available to promote activities, build membership and capacity.
  • A major priority for the group continues to be, the need to enhance outdoor play opportunities for children and young people across the neighbourhood. Consultations are planned to support this.
  • Community Group will pursue the development of vacant and derelict land and establish partnerships to achieve this. Primrose Lane has been identified as a site for development, this will involve extensive community consultation and a partnership approach.
  • Members are at the early stages of developing a bike initiative they are gathering information and meeting with others involved in similar projects to determine the scope of activity and plans going forward.

"I like the fact that the group is run by locals with the support of Community Links and South Lanarkshire Council who have knowledge of grants, laws and contacts that we don’t. Together that makes a force to be reckoned with and we will and do get things done. Hopefully it also awakens the amazing community spirit/pride these schemes once had". Margaret Gilfillan, Community Action Group Member

"I have enjoyed being involved in the Community Group because it’s run by local people who know the area and what needs done. Working in partnership with other people is really important because in return I believe this will ignite pride in the heart of our community and make the future brighter for all". Strutherhill Resident and Community Action Group Member

Local priorities, partnerships and participatory budgeting. The perfect combination

The shopping bus is a joint venture between Larkhall and District Volunteer Group (LDVG) and the Our Place Our Plan Strutherhill and Birkenshaw Community Group.

The original shopping bus was developed in response to issues highlighted in the neighbourhood plan and initial funding came from local participatory budgeting funds.

The service started in 2018 to support older people and those with mobility issues to go shopping at ASDA. The service has grown and members are enjoying shopping trips and visits further afield.

As well as providing much needed transport, members have also enjoyed the opportunity to make new friends and be part of a support network.

This initiative is valued locally, and recently received national recognition from Age Scotland due to extensive partnership working and efforts in reducing isolation.

Further funding has been secured from Pathways for All “Smarter Choices Smarter Places” programme which means the bus can continue for longer.

Sandra McCrory from LDVG said “The aim of this funding is to reduce single-occupancy car journeys by encouraging people to travel together”.

"It was great. It gave me something to look forward to. These days all the days blend together, and the weeks fly in so it’s given me something to do. It’s been a big help. There’s a wee lady who just stays up the road from me who I am now speaking to – I met her for the first time on the bus!”.  A Shopping Bus Member

If you would like to find out more or get involved please contact: Communities Team 0303 123 1017 / www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk

Liz Jamieson, Development Worker 01698 827583 or email liz@communitylinkssl.co.uk

Our Place Our Plan Facebook page / wwww.facebook.com/ourplaceourplanhub

"I’ve been involved with the group for a few years and although there could always be more involvement of the local community residents, It hasn’t stopped the brilliant work and great efforts of those who have contributed for the good of the area. Seeing residents making decisions about our own area has to be the biggest achievement and I hope there is more to come". Davy McAinsh, Community Action Group Member