The Natural Communities Approach to community environmental engagement can be simply defined as working together to understand, celebrate and protect our natural heritage.
Since 2011 our Natural Communities programme in Scotland and Northern Ireland has developed, applied and learned from an innovative participatory approach to community environmental engagement. The programme was initiated in response to a need across the UK to increase skills in engaging communities with the environment and has been supported by Scottish Natural Heritage and through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s ‘Skills for the Future’ programme. To date, Natural Communities has worked together with 24 partner organisations and over 38,000 volunteers from a range of communities to connect people to nature at 130 local green places across the UK.
The Approach has initiated longer-term improvements within and between communities across Scotland, moving away from short-term interventions and building community capacity and confidence to take ownership of their local greenspace, managing it to fit with the priorities they have identified.
The Natural Communities Approach provided impetus for community engagement that we had long aspired to achieve but never managed to deliver, because of a lack of staff time to develop contacts and trial different approaches. As a result of we now have some techniques that work and a significant number of local contacts to deliver these with. We've also learned a lot about what we're trying to achieve at the Moine Mhor, increasing the focus of our community engagement and our understanding of what works there and what doesn’t. - Alan McDonnell, SNH
If you are interested in finding out more about how to use the Natural Communities approach, please get in touch:
Dominic Hall, Natural Communities Co-ordinator
TCV in Scotland
24 Allan Park
Tel: 01786 479697