Jul 102015
Michelle Herd, chief executive, Aberdeen Greenspace 1

Aberdeen Greenspace chief executive Michelle Herd at the multi-use games facility at Eric Hendrie Park

With thanks to Ian McLaren, Innes Associates.

A north-east third sector organisation committed to regenerating and developing city centre green spaces for community use has made a senior appointment as it looks to increase funding streams following changes to government legislation.
Aberdeen Greenspace has appointed Michelle Herd to the role of chief executive, she was previously the organisation’s development manager.

Michelle joined the charity last summer and has worked in third sector organisations in the city for the past decade.

Her appointment coincides with changes to how the charity is funded. Until recently it received funding through the Landfill Communities Fund, a tax credit scheme that distributed money raised by the UK government’s landfill tax.

As of 31 March 2015, this taxation has been devolved to the Scottish Government, with monies raised being paid into the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund, administered by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. Changes to the funding criteria mean that Aberdeen Greenspace is no longer able to obtain funding through the scheme.

The charity has been operating in Aberdeen for 18 years and provides grants to develop and improve urban greenspaces, enabling those living and working in the city to have easy access to such spaces.

Michelle said:

“Green spaces are an important part of the fabric of the city and vital recreational facilities for all its residents and visitors.  We need to ensure that these spaces are suitably maintained and developed to allow as many people to access them as possible. To date, the Landfill Communities Fund has provided significant funds that has enabled Aberdeen Greenspace to do this, but support from local businesses is always welcome.

“I’ve taken the helm at an interesting crossroads in Aberdeen Greenspace’s development. The changes brought about by the devolution of the landfill tax have caused some uncertainty, and as a result we have had to adapt the way we operate.

“We are looking into various alternative funding streams, one of which includes developing team building days for local companies. This would form part of a cohesive corporate social responsibility package for them and one that would benefit Aberdeen’s greenspaces and the city residents and visitors.”

Aberdeen Greenspace has helped to deliver a number of projects across the city. This has included substantial improvements at Eric Hendrie Park in Mastrick, installing a new woodland path in Hazlehead Gardens, creating a new community garden in Tillydrone, restoring the East Tullos Burn in St Fitticks Park, Torry, and upgrading the community greenspace at Powis.

Supported by energy firm Nexen UK, the charity transformed Eric Hendrie Park with new landscaping and the addition of a new multi-use games area for locals to play football, basketball and hockey.

The charity is also a major contributor to the redevelopment of the upper deck at the St Nicholas Centre, providing a quarter of the £200,000 funding required for the project. It is also committed to assisting with the transformation of the Skene Street play park.

Aberdeen Greenspace was established in 1997 as a joint venture between Aberdeen City Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission. It works with local communities to improve the greenspace amenities in their area, including community gardens, outdoors sports facilities, children’s play areas, paths and parks.

The organisation provides funding to develop green spaces in and around Aberdeen with an aim to develop accessibility, increase biodiversity, improve the landscape and provide information and interpretation.  Aberdeen Greenspace distributes funding on a quarterly basis and can provide up to 75% of a project’s cost.  For more information, visit www.aberdeengreenspace.org.uk or telephone 01224 711129.

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