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Why Land Matters

Why Land Matters to Linwood

After 4 years of perseverance, the voices of a group of volunteers, known as the Linwood Community Development Trust, have finally been heard and they are now in the process of acquiring a 2.4 hectare piece of land from their local authority to build much needed facilities for their community as the group is determined to create positive changes to regenerate Linwood.

Kirsty Flannigan, Board member said: “Our journey began in 2009 and the past 4 years have been like rolling jelly up a hill. We campaigned on behalf of our community to ensure our voices were heard during major regeneration programmes such as a £24m Sports Facility and a new Tesco development. Our campaigns were for Linwood to receive a proportion of ‘our regeneration’ funding or to have a voice during the process to ensure facilities were built that met the needs of the Linwood community. We did not want the failures of the past, such as the car factory and the shopping centre to be repeated. However, at the time we were ignored, disempowered and on many occasions made to feel inferior by those in power but we agreed to persevere until we would eventually wake someone up!”

Linwood Community Development Trust decided to carry out their own community consultation which resulted in the production of a Community Action Plan that reflected what the people in Linwood wanted to see happening in their town.

Kirsty continued: “We are so glad that we decided to persevere with our campaign as our voices were finally heard last year by the new Leader of Renfrewshire Council and one of our local councillors, who agreed to support us 100% with our aspirations for Linwood. This support has now led to the Council agreeing this week to work with us - through their Asset Transfer policy - so we can obtain a 2.4 hectare piece of land, which is an amazing achievement for our group!

Our initial plan for the land is to build a football facility with changing facilities and later extend this by building a community wellbeing centre that will address many issues outlined in the Community Action Plan. We believe this land will help build Linwood from the inside out as it will provide more-than-profit projects that will bring added value by supporting the real future regeneration that our community needs.”

Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council commented: “This transfer of land to the Linwood Community Development Trust is a real expression of this community’s determination to build a better future for its residents. This is exactly the sort of programme that I’m keen to encourage throughout Renfrewshire; empowering local people and supporting their ambitions. I congratulate LCDT on its vision and determination and will continue to work with the group to deliver on this project and the community’s plan and aspirations.”

Cllr. Stuart Clark added: “I have been delighted to support the Linwood Community Development Trust since my election last year. They are a forward looking, energetic group of volunteers working extremely hard for their local community. I'm pleased that solid progress is being made and I will continue to do whatever I can to help in the future.”

LCDT have also been supported by organisations such as Development Trust Association Scotland; Foundation Scotland through its ‘Our Community, Our Future’ programme; and Oxfam Scotland who is now supporting LCDT through the development of GrowTrust. This newly established organisation will bring Oxfam’s experience of development with the legal, financial, business, environmental and marketing expertise to benefit community development. Jim Boyle from Grow Trust stated: “There’s no such word as can’t in Linwood. The Development Trust, with the support of the Linwood community, has brought their vision for community facilities within touching distance. The Linwood experience is an example to other communities, that no permission is required to create change.”

Linwood has a long history of industrial decline, which has left a legacy of poverty and unemployment and was also the recipient of the 2011 Carbuncle Award for being ‘The Most Dismal Town in Scotland’. However, Jeanette Anderson, Chairperson for LCDT said: “At long last we are starting to see a wave of change happening in Linwood and would urge communities who are facing the same hardships to never ever give up if you believe something is worth fighting for. After all, this is our community, our future, and who best knows what the community needs, than the community itself? It’s onwards and upwards from now on for Linwood!”

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