In my last blog I talked of the success of our peer support network, indeed only this morning I received an email from a happy community in Skye who were delighted that a fish farm application had been rejected after a 4 hour hearing. This is heartening news as Skye is somewhat under siege with fish farms, which are highly damaging to the natural ecology. We had been helping them navigate some of the barriers inherent in the planning process by discussing the thorny issue of councillor conflict of interest (two of their local councillors are apparently also the developer in this case) and community representation at hearings. Our input was but a small part of their preparations, however perhaps most importantly we provided much needed solidarity and energy, as their email acknowledging our assistance said “Just wanted to say thank you again for all your support. It really helped to keep me going”.
Communities facing long drawn out planning battles need to know that they are not alone. We met a bunch of them in Glasgow last week and it is great to see them establishing a new federation of groups, including community councils to work together to share knowledge and understanding of planning and it seems give much needed solace, when the system does not provide the protection of people and place that is needed.
So it seems appropriate that Glasgow is the venue for our annual gathering on the 4th February.
The agenda will be to hear about our peer support network, its achievements and a well done and thank you to all our mentors. But it will also be looking towards the future of where we take the work next as clearly there is plenty to do and much to be gained from this approach. We intend to continue the work (and indeed still have peer support events in our diaries for February).
The success of the project can also be measured by the fact that other much larger environmental organisations are now interested in what we have done and how we have done it and are looking to possibly emulate or adapt peer support work for their purposes.
However other opportunities are also arising and we will also be hearing from the new staff taking forward a new Environmental Rights Centre in Scotland. The need for this is very obvious and has been articulated by Deborah Long of Scottish Environment LINK in her blog. But the work that it does will be very aligned with the work that we do and we are excited about working to find ways to work together to achieve some form of environmental justice, not currently being delivered in Scotland.
6-8pm Tuesday February 4th
at Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow, G2 4JP.
Its free and refreshments will be served.
And a final thank you to the People’s Postcode Trust for their support to get this project underway, it has been awesome!