Events later this week offer the chance to find out about ideas put forward for the Your Kirkwall exercise – and how these could develop in future.
All are welcome at the two workshops, which take place at the Kirkwall and St Ola Community Centre on Friday and Saturday (26 and 27 January). These follow an ideas gathering exercise held in November last year.
As well as an online survey and drop-in events for the public at large, there were sessions for pupils at Glaitness and Papdale primary schools and Kirkwall Grammar School, young people involved in the VAO Connect Protect, the Youth Café and Orkney Youth Forum, and students at Orkney College UHI.
The Your Kirkwall initiative will result a shared vision for the town over the next 10 to 20 years that reflects the views of the Orkney community at large. It will highlight projects people would like to see happen or take forward themselves, and help identify grant funding opportunities. It will also guide Orkney Islands Council’s future planning, design and transport policies for Kirkwall.
The Council is being assisted by PAS (Planning Aid for Scotland), a charity and social enterprise that specialises in community engagement.
Julia Frost, from PAS, said “We had a great response to our call for ideas to set the agenda for Your Kirkwall - over 320 people filled out the community survey, for example.
“People’s ideas have been a wonderfully rich source from which to work up initial proposals for the future of the town. One example is to transform the area around the Peedie Sea into a town park - with a bigger skateboard park, giant sculptures, more paths, better shelter, new planting, better lighting, events and so on.
“We’ll be asking people what they think of this and other ideas in the Town Hall on 26 to 27 January.
“Nothing is fixed yet - this is everyone’s opportunity to say if we’re on the right track, before we work up a plan for consultation in the spring.”
The Friday workshop starts at 14:00. On Saturday there will be two more opportunities, the first at 10:00 and the second at 14:00. Each workshop is expected to take one-and-a-half hours.
In addition, children and young people have the chance to have their say at their own special event - a Your Kirkwall Youth Summit taking place on Friday (26 January). This event is expected to be attended by around 60 young people who have become engaged in the project since November.
Kirkwall Councillor John Ross Scott said: “The young people of Orkney are the future of Orkney, so it is really important that they have a full say in how the future of the county is shaped.
“Having attended the launch of the Orkney Youth Forum and the biennial Orkney Youth Chamber debate last year, and witnessed at first hand the passion and enthusiasm of the youngsters who assisted the Your Kirkwall team by providing such a wealth of ideas in its preliminary work in November, I know how eager young people are to engage and how eloquently they do so.
“It should not be forgotten that – at the last census - 30% of Kirkwall’s population were aged 24 or younger. In this The Year of Young People it is right that they be given the chance they deserve to shape their future.”
The Council has been awarded funding from the Scottish Government’s ‘Smarter Choices, Smarter Places’ scheme for the Your Kirkwall exercise.