Case Study Info
  • Name: Lochore Meadows Outdoor Centre
  • Title: Dveloping Trails in The Community
  • Email:
  1. 1 Aims of the Project: What are the aims of the project? Background to the facility, What target group was your project aimed at? How did you identify the need for the project?

    What are the aims of the project?

    To involve the local community, particularly young people, in designing and building mountain biking trails in a previously disused wooded strip on the edge of a local authority park situated between local housing which have been deemed areas of deprivation.

    Background to the facility

    Lochore Meadows is over 1,200 acres of beautiful and varied countryside with a wide range of facilities and activities available. There are woodlands, meadows and grasslands, ponds, a Nature Reserve and of course Loch Ore itself. There are paths and trails throughout the area, many of which are wheelchair and mobility scooter accessible.
    Facilities include: Trout Fishery, 9 Hole Golf Course, Outdoor Education Centre (see Services at right), picnic areas, BBQs, a Beach and Play Area and Riding Stables. Activities include Watersports, Hillwalking and Mountain Biking. A range of specialised equipment is available for people with disabilities for land and water activities.

    What target group was your project aimed at?

    Local young people – both for them to participate in mountain biking and to be involved in building and designing the trails themselves,
    Many of the young people who are part of the project were not engaged in either school or employment.

    How did you identify the need for the project?

    Unofficial trail building in the area and following consultation with local schools, community groups and other interested parties.

    Back
  2. 2 Actions What did you do and how did you do it? Who did it involve and how did you go about getting them involved? What was the budget for your project and how/where did you source funding? How did you promote your project?

    What did you do and how did you do it?

    Built 8km of trails and skills area using a contractor for the main section and volunteers for the linking section.

    Who did it involve and how did you go about getting them involved?

    Went to speak to local community groups to establish level of interest and what activities they would like to get involved with.

    What was the budget for your project and how/where did you source funding?

    £50,000 from various funding pots.

    How did you promote your project?

    Through community engagement, Meedies Bike club (facebook page), the centre and by creating our own event – Meedies Bike Jam.

    Back
  3. 3 Results What were the project outcomes/results? How did you monitor and evaluate the project? What worked well? What worked less well? What one features of your project would you highlight as a particular success or unique aspect?

    What were the project outcomes/results?

    8km of trails a majority of which was built or designed with the input of the local community. As a result of their involvement there has been an ownership of the facility by the local community especially from within the bike club.

    Facility used by a broad section of the local population but especially by young males.

    The young people who were involved in the building of the skills area won a UK wide youth engagement award presented by Gordon Brown (then UK Prime Minister) at Downing Street.

    How did you monitor and evaluate the project?

    Number of club members, number of volunteers, feedback and the attendance at our annual event.

    What worked well?

    The club which has been set up on the back of the trails has over 100 members, 30 adult and 70 juniors. With 10 of the adult members becoming qualified Trail Cycle Leaders and help on a weekly basis leading the young people on both the trails within Lochore and also on trips to other trail centres such as Glentress and Laggan Wolftrax.

    The club, in partnership with Scottish Cycling – whom they are affiliated with, have also ran a local series of races to encourage more young people to be involved in mountain bike racing. From these races many of the club members both, adult and junior, have gone on to compete in the national SXC series.

    The club also links and supports other local clubs, especially Middleden Mtn Bike Club, by providing advice, such as recruiting volunteers, and promotion and assistance at their events.

    The split between volunteers and contractors has ensured the build and design quality of the trails is robust and sustainable but also ensured the local community have felt included and have taken an ownership of the trail network. Although there is no definitive statistics to prove this has reduced vandalism to the site there is anecdotal evidence, especially comments from young people, that they have helped self-police the site and discourage others from vandalising the site.

    The trails have helped cement local partnerships in the local area. Service Users from West Fife Community Support Service in conjunction with Fife Employability Team, both part of Fife Council’s Social Work Service, Adult Services (Resources), help look after the trails. This includes litter pick ups, maintaining the trail network, and supervised digging sessions. After each session the group make use of mountain bikes, both regular and modified, to keep healthy and fit. Anna Capon, Community Support Coordinator of West Fife Community Support Service explains “Our adults and young people love helping out on the trails and it brings benefits both in terms of the physical nature of the work but also by being outdoors and the feeling of being part of a larger community, it brings great mental wellbeing to all members of the group. They also love their spin round the trails at the end of every session – as do I!”

    Mountain biking is also incorporated into the Forest School and mountain bikes are linked with the Curriculum for Excellence. 

    What worked less well?

    Monitoring use and evaluation to demonstrate impact and on-line promotion of the facility - limited website – www.meediesmtb.co.uk

    What one features of your project would you highlight as a particular success or unique aspect?

    Value for money, the level of community engagement and the formation of a successful club which is creating leaders and coaches to further develop the young people in the local area.

    Back
  4. 4 Future Development Do you have any recommendations for other people running a project like this in future? How do you plan to develop the project so that it keeps on working in the future?

    Do you have any recommendations for other people running a project like this in future?

    Engage the young people from the very start and reward them for their input. It is time consuming and not without its challenges but it is very rewarding to see young people develop and to see their horizons expanding.

    We have also found the use of social networking (facebook) to be of great value when communicating both with the adults and young people in the club.

    How do you plan to develop the project so that it keeps on working in the future?

    On-going inspections of the existing trail network and looking to identify opportunities where we can encourage more young people to participate in mountain biking.
    Extend the trail network.
    Looking to expand the series of mountain bike race opportunities.
    Encourage more adults and young people to be involved in the club.
    Offer a bike washing and hire facility for both tourists and locals.

    Back
  5. 5 Additional Information Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your project?

    Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your project?

    I think we have said it all already!

    Back