Eddy Yacoubian discusses the Friends of Milngavie Reservoir's new vision statement
Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) is a fantastic celebration of the work of volunteers, especially over this past year. The week raises awareness about the benefits of becoming a volunteer and the diverse volunteering roles that are available; and, to say ‘thank you’.
To coincide with Volunteers’ Week, the Friends of Milngavie Reservoir has launched its new vision statement. Our vision is to ensure that Milngavie Reservoirs and its tranquil environs are returned to their original Victorian beauty. This includes an ambition to ensure this unique area is managed and maintained with a sustainable long-term plan which enhances and protects this for the benefit of future generations.
The vision honours Glasgow’s international standing during the industrial age. Its success in global trading, and its rapid growth relied on safe, clean drinking water for its citizens. Loch Katrine was identified as the source of this, and Milngavie Reservoirs established as a strategic base, coupled with serving as a public park for local communities and day-trippers alike.
As volunteers, the Friends of Milngavie Reservoir greatly value working in collaboration with local groups and national bodies, such as Scottish Water, who own and manage the area. The vision statement sets out our five strategic priorities: Heritage, Visitor Access, Community and Partnership, Biodiversity and Green Conservation and Health and Wellbeing.
In terms of heritage, the qualities of Milngavie Reservoirs are recognised by its many designations; Conservation Area, A-listed building and Inventory of Historic Garden and Designed Landscapes. We work with Historic Environment Scotland, East Dunbartonshire Council and Scottish Water to ensure this valuable national historic asset is expertly cared for and safeguarded for future. We will continue to advocate appropriate restoration and maintenance of the reservoirs, and their associated designed and engineered structures, and ensure the deterioration of masonry and metalwork is reversed.
There has been a noticeable increase in visitor numbers during the pandemic. Our number one priority is to improve the path network and to make this fit for purpose. We want to improve access for disabled visitors and to enhance their experience, and that of others, including through new interpretation to support education and learning.
Community partnership is central to our vision and we will work closely with local networks and represent their interests. We are also committed to create more volunteering opportunities and to support community interests expressed through formal public consultation.
In line with the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan, we will improve biodiversity by means of native planting, adjusted maintenance regimes and use of wild flora mixes. In turn, we hope to protect and diversify the existing wildlife. We will also establish a soft landscape management plan and secure funding for new native tree planting.
Access to open green space for health and wellbeing has never been more important and our new vision recognises this at this crucial time for the recovery of communities. Volunteering can be a catalyst for social good so what better time to celebrate this. You can find out more at www.fomr.uk and www.volunteerscotland.net
Eddy Yacoubian is chairman of Friends of Milngavie Reservoir