Building a Better Auchinleck with our Creative Young Volunteers

Young volunteers carried out a Creative Community Asset Mapping activity which was aligned to the Place Standard framework. We launched our Community Events Ambassador Volunteer Team and held a session dedicated to discussing how the role will move forward. We also asked our older young volunteers, who are in the Events & Activities Assistant Volunteer role, to think about what projects they’d like to see.

We’re still buzzing with the energy from our Volunteer Workshop held at The Boswell Centre on Saturday 22nd February 2020.

We kicked off with a Creative Community Asset Mapping session. The young people used LEGO to build their favourite places in the area whilst we had a discussion about the positives and negatives of Auchinleck. Alison and Stuart were open-minded to the feedback from the young people and were surprised by some of the responses. They praised local natural spaces. There’s nice views when out walking and the A-Frame is good for cycling (it is safer than cycling in Auchinleck itself). This could be improved by more maps/walking trails, something the A-Frame site already does well. They also said Tesco and Dumfries House are good places to meet people.

“I like to take a walk up the hill [bing] at Highhouse.”

Sense of identity and belonging was poor. They said if you tell someone you’re from Auchinleck, they’ll change the subject. The mining heritage is dying out. There is a feeling that people don’t care about the community; this leads to problems such as littering and dog mess despite there being plenty of bins.

In terms of getting around, they feel public transport is expensive so people can’t afford to go outside Auchinleck. The alternative is a car and although having lots of cars shows there’s money in Auchinleck, there’s not enough parking and streets become overcrowded.

In terms of recreation, play areas get vandalised or get graffiti on them. Although there’s opportunities for people to do things, they don’t know what is available at the leisure centre (eg. fun swims for £3).

People don’t mix well. There are fights almost every day at Auchinleck Academy and it is predicted the frequency will increase at the new super school. Racism is a problem.

Young people like the opportunity to have their say but find it disappointing when organisations promise then don’t deliver.

Meet our new recruits!

The Community Events Ambassador Volunteer Team is made up of 6 volunteers: 3 pupils from Auchinleck Primary School and 3 pupils from St Patrick’s Primary School. Their role is to obtain feedback and ideas for events from other pupils at the school they attend and help promote events and activities ran by ACDI to their classmates.

The team discussed their ideas, with plenty of great suggestions showing they’re wise beyond their years.

‘Cereal Box Challenge’

Our Events & Activities Assistant Volunteers aged between 12 and 15 were asked to suggest a project within the framework of the ‘Cereal Box Challenge’.

  • Name: What would you call your project?
  • Description/Tagline: What will draw people to get involved?
  • Ingredients: What do you need for your project?
  • Nutritional info: How does the project benefit people?

Left to their own devices, using the inspiration from the discussions earlier in the day, here is what they came up with…
Project 1: “Help a Person Out” – ‘A place for everyone who feels different or just had nowhere to go, no-one should feel left out, a place where no-one is judged’ – Ingredients: a room in the community centre, volunteers, Facebook page so everyone knows, activities monthly – Nutritional info: You could get a reward or a day out, you could make new friends
Project 2: “Auchinleck Street Clean” – ‘Helping the streets of Auchinleck stay clean’ – Ingredients: People who are willing to help, bin bags, litter pickers, gloves – Nutritional value: Helps the community to sparkle and shine
Project 3: “Auchinleck: The Corner Café” – ‘Great rolls, drinks, hot drinks, great food and great staff members’ – Ingredients: Permission form council, cooking training, advertise on Facebook and posters in shops/pubs, more members of staff – Nutritional info: On the counter there is a charity box and some people will just chick some money into it (N.B. these are suggestions on how to improve an existing business)

These three volunteers confidently presented their ideas to the Community Events Ambassador Volunteer Team, Stuart, Alison and Annie Brown from the East Ayrshire Volunteer Centre.

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