For me, visiting a youth group is always a mixture of excitement and nerves: excitement because I’ve no idea what they’re going to say, but nerves because I hope they’re going to say something!
But I needn’t have worried: my visit to Haldane Youth Services with Erin Goldie, a National Park planner, was great. Once we rolled out our big vinyl map of Balloch, invited the young folk to tramp all over it and cover it with stickers, the conversation flowed.
What do you like about Balloch? “The Castle Country Park – views, trees, beaches, swimming, red squirrels, the magical waterfall…. we need to make more of it.” “Haldane Youth Services – but it needs lights so we can use the pitches after dark!”
What could be better? “Moss o’Balloch is boring, too focussed on young kids. Walking between Loch Lomond Shores and the town centre is gloomy and needs better lights. And the car park by Sweeney’s needs tidied up.”
Rather than take my word for it, you can listen to some other great ideas in this short video clip that we recorded during the session:
This intimate knowledge of the town is essential for good planning and design. Only by understanding how everyone uses Balloch – young and old, resident and visitor – can we hope to properly plan for the future. So, come along to the lunchtime drop-in sessions and evening workshops starting on 29th February, and help us work out how to make Balloch even better. It’ll be exciting!
Blog by Nick Wright