Making the most of Aden Country Park Project
The “Making the Most of Aden Country Park” project is looking at developing the asset of Aden Country Park, Mintlaw, making full use of its rich cultural and environmental resources to improve and sustain the Park for future generations.
Funding was successfully secured from LEADER (the Scottish Government and the European Commission programme to support rural Scotland) and the Buchan Community Planning Partnership from which Development Worker, Neil Shirran, has been appointed to produce an Aden Country Park Development Plan for the Park, looking at how best to promote, regenerate, and increase participation and public access to the Aden Country Park and all its amenities.
The Development Worker is employed by Buchan Development Partnership and is working in partnership with the various services of Aberdeenshire Council working in Aden Country Park to deliver the project. These include: the Aberdeenshire Museum Service, Landscape Services, The Ranger Service, and Aberdeenshire Cultural Services.
Aden Country Park Questionnaire
Since coming into post, the Development Worker has carried out research, a needs/gap analysis and community consultation. As well as attending local events such as the Mintlaw Gala, Pipe Band Competition, and Vintage Tractor Day, a paper based and online questionnaire was circulated to gather the thoughts of the local community, visitors, users, volunteers and employees of Aden as to how they would like to see Aden Country Park regenerated.
Follow the link to download the Summary of Findings from the Aden questionnaire.
Key themes and future ideas identified through the questionnaire include: the marketing and promotion of Aden; the renovation and development of the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum, café/restaurant and estate cottages; creation of a gift/farm shop, indoor children’s play area, a multifunctional indoor space, Community gardens/allotments, and sculpture trail; along with improvements to all paths around the Park.
A range of new events ideas was also identified through the community consultation, including: craft & food fairs, music events, farmers market, sheepdog trials, cinema, nature events, open air theatre, heritage events, children’s events and other farming related events.
Feedback to all proposed ideas was gathered at the recent Buchan Development Partnership (BDP) AGM and Autumn Forum. Responses were very positive and it was agreed that improving current facilities, introducing new facilities and events, as well as improving marketing and promotion of all facilities, activities and events was vitally important.
In addition it was also felt that developing a 'Friends of Aden Country Park' group would provide the local community with the opportunity to have a greater say on what developments there might be in Aden Country Park. To become a “Friend of Aden” please follow the link.
Aden Country Park Community Action Plan
An Aden Country Park Community Action Plan has also been developed. This booklet is one of a series produced by Local Rural Partnerships together with the community under the banner "Making It Real". The aim of this booklet is to provide community action plans in an attractive, easy to read, professional printed format.
For Aden Country Park, the consultation exercise was led by the Aden Development and Working Group. This information can now guide the community and Community Planning Partners in drawing up detailed action plans to implement the top priorities as well as addressing the other issues which have been identified. For each priority or issue this will involve agreeing who should be involved, what resources will be needed and target dates for completion. It is hoped that this process will be driven by representatives of the community with support - moral, technical and financial - from the relevant partners.
You Said, We Did - Community Consultation Feedback
Following the community consultation carried out in 2010 where the “Making the Most of Aden Country Park” paper based and online questionnaire was made available throughout Aden Country Park and at several local events and forums we felt it was important to provide feedback on what you said, and what we did.
The main aim of the consultation process was to encourage the local community, visitors, users, and volunteers to:
• become partners in the decision making process
• help identify what areas of Aden Country Park are both successful and in need of improvement
• ascertain what the needs and gaps are
• gather opinions as to how Aden Country Park can be regenerated
• demonstrate that there is a need for Aden to be improved
In total 466 people, predominantly from the Buchan area completed the “Making the Most of Aden Country Park” questionnaire. Using these results as a basis we have both developed the Aden Country Park Development Plan, the Community Action Plan, as well as using the feedback provided as a guide to making various improvements in the park.
Aden Country Park Development Plan
The Aden Country Park Development Plan sets out a vision to shape Aden Country Park over the next five to ten years. The vision aims “to develop the asset of Aden Country Park, making full use of its rich cultural and environmental resources to improve and sustain the Park financially for future generations”
In order to achieve this vision, recommendations have been identified from the findings of public consultation and work carried out by the Aden Working and Development groups. These recommendations are grouped under three specific objectives:
• Identify the best model to improve governance and management
• Identify development opportunities, revenue generation streams and potential funding sources
• Identify ways in which to promote Aden Country Park most effectively
Within each objective a series of actions are highlighted. Each action is marked as either Very High, High, Medium or Low priority. Actions marked as a ‘Very High’ will provide the initial focus in terms of delivering the plan over its first year, whilst actions marked as ‘High’ priority will become the focus in years two and three. Those marked as ‘Medium’ will become a focus over the three or four years and actions marked as ‘Low’ priority will become a focus in year five, and are more likely to continue beyond the lifespan of this plan.
It is important to stress at this point that all actions in the Aden Country Park Development Plan are very much suggested actions that will each require further research and development work to determine their feasibility and suitability for Aden Country Park
In conclusion the Aden Country Park Development Plan aims to guide and provide suggestions for the development and sustainability of Aden Country Park, providing proposals to aid effective and efficient management. Specifically the plan looks to:
• Raise Awareness, Involvement and Build Consensus
• Plug Knowledge Gaps
• Identify Revenue Generating Opportunities
• Establish a Framework for Decisions
• Promote Strategic Planning
• Agree an Action Plan
• Plan for Change
• Monitor and Review
The Plan is also intended to be a working document which is sufficiently flexible and realistic, to react to change and opportunities, while seeking to improve the quality of Aden Country Park in the short, medium and long term. For more information please download the Aden Country Park Development Plan below.
Aden Country Park Allotment and Community Garden Project
Using the results of the Aden Development Plan in 2012 funding was successfully secured through the “Investing in Ideas” Big Lottery Fund for the Aden Country Park Allotment & Community Garden project. This project enabled the Aden Development Worker to work in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council to establish whether the local Buchan community would like to see the development of allotments and community gardens in the grounds of Aden Country Park.
The report attached below illustrates the results of the comprehensive community consultation, questionnaire analysis, information and mapping process, along with potential governance and management options, soil testing results, identified planning considerations, along with an action plan, development costs, and potential funding opportunities and income streams.
Following the Aden Country Park Allotment & Community Garden project the Aden Development Worker went on to help form the Aden Community Allotments Association (ACAA) which with support from the Development Worker went on to successfully apply for £77,000 of funding from Keep Scotland Beautiful - Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) to develop allotments and a community garden within the grounds of Aden Country Park.
Now in 2016 the ACAA group are now in a position to offer over 55 plots for individuals, schools or community groups to use. For further information about the Aden Country Park Allotment & Community Garden project please download the attachment below. For further information about the Aden Community Allotments Association (ACAA) please visit: http://www.adencountrypark.org.uk/allotments-and-community-gardens
Aden Country Park Playground Project
In 2014 the Aden Development Worker successfully applied for “Investing in Ideas” Big Lottery Funding to work in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council to establish the needs and aspirations of the local Buchan community, as well as identifying ways to fund, develop, improve, and make better use of the children’s play provision offered in Aden Country Park.
During the project the Aden Development Worker carried out the six key aims outlined in the grant application, these were to:
1) Carry out detailed research into play equipment providers, the various costs, types, and options available to help improve the existing play provision in Aden Country Park.
2) Consult with the local community via questionnaires, options appraisal, focus groups, interviews, events & meetings, with regards to the existing playground provision, clearly identifying what the needs, gaps and aspiration of the community are.
3) Collate and analyse the results of the community consultation, options appraisal, and general feedback from the community.
4) Use the results of community consultation and options appraisal to liaise with playground suppliers and their design services to achieve a fully costed budget plan and visual representation of proposed improvements.
5) Develop a playground improvements feasibility study/project plan which includes possible income streams and future funding opportunities for the development of the playground provision in Aden Country Park.
6) Feedback the results of the community consultation, feasibility study/project plan, options appraisal, and proposed improvements to the local community.
As a result of the Aden Playground Project we ultimately hope to use the findings illustrated in the report attached below to help strengthen our ability to attract funding to deliver the improvements identified by the local community and visitors to Aden Country Park.