Sharing ideas at our South of Scotland campaigners’ day

A driech day didn’t dampen the enthusiasm as we gathered in Kilmarnock for our South of Scotland campaigners’ day. This brought together groups and individuals from Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway and beyond to share ideas, stories and inspiration about how to improve conditions for active travel in the region.

Suzanne Forup from Cycling UK (and Walk Cycle Vote) kicked off the day with a presentation setting the scene and the (ever more complicated) active travel landscape in Scotland (you can see Suzanne’s presentation here)

Then it was the turn of Iona Shepherd from GoBike, the Strathclyde Cycle Campaign, explaining how the group used the power of being a social movement to bring about change in Glasgow – giving people the chance to get involved in everything from responding to consultations and running rides, to getting stuck into creative campaigning online and offline (you can see Iona’s presentation here)

After a fair bit of time listening, people then had a chance to split into groups and talk about local issues in their areas, a conversation that was clearly so engrossing that it was hard to get anyone to stop to have lunch – always a good sign in an event that was as much about networking as anything else.

After lunch, it was a chance for local groups to introduce themselves with short presentations from our hosts the South Ayrshire Paths Initiative and the Kilmarnock Active Travel Hub, as well as from Cycling Dumfries (you can see the Cycling Dumfries presentation here).

It was then time to talk creative campaigning, with a presentation from Sally Hinchcliffe of Pedal on Parliament, rounding up how to use humour, eye-catching imagery and fun to either embarrass people into acting – or change the narrative altogether (you can see Sally’s presentation here, and get a handout with more information here).

This then segued into another chance for people to talk in groups about how they might take some of the lessons from the day and turn them into campaigns to tackle their own local issues – from harnessing the ‘pester power’ of kids – to a spot of guerrilla signage ..

Finally, with the buzz in the room reaching deafening volumes, we tried to bottle that fizz by getting everyone to make a note of one action they were going to take, once they’d digested the lessons of the day.

All in all it felt like a successful event, and we look forward to seeing what comes out of it.

If you missed it, or couldn’t make it down to Kilmarnock, we’ve got another similar event coming up in Aberdeen on the 29th September. Once more it’s free, but if you want to attend, please book yourself on because places are limited.