Our Neighbourhood Plan - Blantyre Futures
Annual Progress Report 2021-2022
- Blantyre is an area in South Lanarkshire within the Hamilton locality.
- The area has a population of around 17,000 people.
- It’s housing is a mix of social housing, private rent and owned properties.
- Blantyre is extremely vibrant and active with a multitude of community and voluntary organisations carrying out a wide variety of work.
Blantyre has had a neighbourhood plan in place since 2019.
Changing priorities from the pandemic have given the town a chance to focus on this. The stakeholder group made up of local people, third sector and public sector bodies began to meet again in February 2021 to consider how to move the plan forward.
Blantyre bucks the trend with its main street with many independent shops still active in the area and a town centre strategy is currently in development to ensure this continues.
Blantyre Futures plan was officially launched in June 2019. The plan was formed by local people and organisations with the assistance of Coalfields Regeneration Trust. From this point the Stakeholders Group began to look at how actions could be taken to respond to the plan, however, due to the pandemic in March 2020, resources were used to respond to the more immediate needs of the community.
The stakeholder group was then re-established in February 2021 with the support of South Lanarkshire Council’s Community Engagement Team. The initial meetings were used to identify a way forward for meaningful action and to gauge the level of interest from stakeholders. Discussions are still underway on the best way to proceed and getting all partners on board to do this.
A main aim of the stakeholder group is to ensure over 50% of it’s membership is from local people and all local organisations are involved, working in partnership to move forward.
The community voted in November 21 to identify their key priorities for using funding in a participatory budgeting exercise. The priorities listed below are the result of that vote, and in order of popularity. These differ somewhat from the priorities of the original Blantyre’s Future plan, in response to the changing needs of the town.
|Priority||Progress that has been achieved|
The majority of youth work delivery in the area has resumed with over 25 youth activities being delivered per week in the area, including those provided by Terminal 1 and HyperCyber.
|2||Greater community safety|
Plans are in place with Police Scotland to explore this theme during 2022.
Covid restrictions that were in place until the end of March 2022 meant that large scale gatherings were not possible; however many smaller and online community activities have continued to happen.
Covid recovery will be an ongoing priority. To date most activities have resumed within the area. We will continue to identify what needs to be done to support the community and take action on this.
|5||Older people activities|
A number of older peoples activities are delivered in the area each week, through local assets like the TACT Hall.
Many local organisations, such as Bonnie Blantyre and the Friends of the Calder, are responding to this need through new initiatives around community growing and maintaining the areas wildlife areas.
This is a priority which the stakeholders group and existing community groups will address in the future.
|8||Glasgow Road and shopping facilities|
The town centre strategy is currently being produced and will include work around this priority.
A walk around of Stonefield Park was carried out by local people and partners, with a number of issues identified and resolved. There was strong commitment to further work like this happening.
|10||Roads, traffic and parking|
This is a priority which the stakeholders group and the town centre strategy will address in the future.
Over the next year the focus is on ensuring the stakeholder group that steers and guides the direction of the plan is strengthened through full participation of all local organisations. It is important that this group also has over 50% membership of local people. This is crucial to ensure the correct people, who are experts in the area, are directly leading the work that is being carried out.
The stakeholder group will support the delivery of the projects funded through participatory budgeting, and will develop plans as to how the priorities of the town are best addressed in the future. This is a decision for the stakeholder group to make jointly and they will then identify the steps that need to be taken.
“I have seen the biggest commitment and dedication from local people in Blantyre, especially during Covid with people pulling together to help one another. Our group provided support to the elderly and young people with food and company. We also received fantastic comments on the Blantyre daily blog. I see Blantyre moving forward now and the community spirit is very positive. The new Care Hub is also providing great support for the local area.”
Mick McCann (Local Resident)
“As a local resident, I feel proud to be able to take part in helping make positive changes in the area. Recognising the way people have worked together, especially during lockdown to assist our community, providing food and other resources to those who really needed it. I feel that there is a real sense of positivity moving out of lockdown in the local area and the commitment of the local groups are a credit to everyone in Blantyre.”
Information on participatory budgeting within the area
Participatory budgeting is providing local people the opportunity to decide how public money is spent.
These processes are designed and delivered by the stakeholder group to ensure that local people govern the process and decide the best way for it to move forward.
The stakeholder group opted to undertake a two part process, holding two public votes to allocate the monies from 20/21 and 21/22. In November 2021 the first public vote was undertaken around top themes to invite projects on. Project applications were then invited for the top three themes which were youth activities, community safety and community activities. The final stage of the process is a final public vote which is taking place in late spring 2022.
For any further information or if you would like to get involved please contact the Community Engagement Team on 0303 123 1017 or email: email@example.com
“I love the community spirit in Blantyre, everyone has come together to look out for each other. I hope that support for local groups will continue, and I would like to see a community hub in Blantyre, where people can get together to meet as groups or just to have access to laptops, possibly a community café that would provide hot meals for those in need. “Time to Talk” will start again with local people getting together for a chat and some company and help with loneliness and mental health.”
Mary Sutherland (Local Resident)