Rosie Robertson is an energetic community member of the Clyde Gateway board. She has lived all of her life next to Cuningar Loop, is a popular community worker in the area, and enthusiastically appreciates the amazing transformation that the area has undergone.
At Cuningar Loop one of Scotland’s most ambitious green infrastructure projects is now shaping up into a city asset. An injection of capital, and the vision of Clyde Gateway along with Forestry and Land Scotland (who manage the site), have fused together to create a wonderful urban park. Clyde Gateway, an urban regeneration company, is an organisation that has always been good at engaging with community feelings, and aware of the wider benefits of creating a better environment. Be it jobs, houses or greenspaces they ‘get’ the fact that city success is linked and interdependent.
With her involvement as a community worker and a seat on the board of Clyde Gateway Rosie Robertson has helped influence change. “I don’t know that I fully appreciated how fantastic this park could be. Nor did I realise how big it was going to be. It’s given new opportunities, to exercise, enjoy the outdoors, escape into nature, for everyone living locally.
“The day the park opened I came down here with my family and my grandchildren. The sun was shining, and it was marvellous, absolutely fantastic. All that was missing were a few facilities like toilets, and now with The Bothy we have that. The viewing tower - The Tur - gives such great views over the city. I love the sculptures too. Don’t get me wrong I’m not really artistically minded, but you look at the artworks in this park and it does exactly what you would want it to do – it inspires . For me Cuningar Loop is a great place to go, it’s safe and easy to get too. It’s a meeting space for us all to enjoy.”
It’s not just the local community that adore this space. Rosie is not surprised to know that local people are eagerly using such a good greenspace, but is delighted to hear that it draws folk from further afield . They bring different backgrounds and cultures to the park, and this allied to good use of the site by local schools and nurseries is a ringing endorsement of a project that feels as good as it looks.
It certainly is a visual success. It has opened up views of the magnificent River Clyde and being overlooked by the custom-built Commonwealth Games village gives the area a relaxed, cosmopolitan, feel. The people that live in the former village overlooking Cuningar Loop are gratefully reaping the benefits of what is a well-constructed park, a park where things are consistently done to a high standard.
“One of my favourite things to have happened in this park,” explains Rosie, “was the Halloween event where they lit up the trees and transformed the site by night. For me it was a happy, friendly event that previously I’d have associated with the west end of Glasgow, and probably expected to pay for. Here it was free and really engaged the local community. It made me not just proud of the journey the park had been on, but gave me that warm feeling you get from people coming together. Cuningar Loop is all about showing what you can build when you create a new greenspace.”
Looking ahead locals want to see the park continue to develop, be well-maintained, and kept at the heart of their community. Retaining the involvement of schools and nurseries will be crucial, something which Rosie, as a community worker, greatly values.
Cuningar Loop is stunning. It has set a high, almost enviable standard. There is an enormous appreciation locally for what Clyde Gateway have done for the area. There is acknowledgement that they haven’t simply come in and done the bare minimum, nor have they imposed their vision on anyone (regular steering group meetings saw to that). Collaboration and partnership working has been a key part of the unbridled success of the park.
If you haven’t been to Cuningar Loop then I’d recommend a visit. Sitting just over the river from Glasgow’s famous Velodrome and Celtic Park it is a true urban gem. The Bothy hub, the towering Tur, pleasant woodland trails, winding paths, a cycle pump track, magnificent artworks – it’s got the lot.
On a day in which John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, and NatureScot’s chairman Mike Cantlay joined visitors on the official opening of Phase Two of this magnificent woodland park it was clear to see that area has a Rosie Outlook indeed.
The Green Infrastructure Fund Is part of the Scottish Government’s current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme, which runs through to June 2023. This is one of two ERDF Strategic Interventions led by NatureScot – the other is the Natural & Cultural Heritage Fund .
You can follow the European Structural Funds blog for ESF activities, news and updates. For twitter updates go to @scotgovESIF or use the hashtags #ERDF and #europeanstructuralfunds