Keep Scotland Beautiful award joy for dedicated Buckie's Roots volunteers
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A BUCKIE community group have been celebrating after scooping a national environmental award.
The volunteers at Buckie's Roots had plenty to cheer about after learning they had been awarded Level 4 – Thriving status as part of Keep Scotland Beautiful's nationwide It's Your Neighbourhood initiative.
While this is the group's very first stab at the award, they have landed with the second highest level available, the top one being Level 5.
Buckie's Roots began life in 2018 as the Friends of Buckie Square with the sole aim of tidying up Cluny Square but have since transformed into an organisation which organises craft bombs, litter picks and many other activities.
One of those delighted with the award was the group's chairwoman Meg Jamieson.
She said: "It feels fantastic to have won this, it's our first year of doing this and we've got the second top award.
"Everything we've done, we've done for Buckie, this is a community award, not ours.
"It's basically an environmental award and there were different sections we had to hit. Each section was scored by the judges and these were then added together for our final mark.
"They looked at all sorts of things – our planting, compost, how we got and grew plants, our sustainability, the craft bombs, our work on the Speyside Way and, very importantly, our community integration, among other things.
"The judges actually went away with ideas after visiting Buckie, especially the craft bombs and the litter picking. Our litter pickers originally made their own trolleys from old shopping trolleys and now have litter buggies.
"The big thing running through the award was community involvement. It would be great if we could also get more volunteers off the back of this award."
While Buckie's Roots have plenty to be proud of, they are by no means seeking to rest on their laurels and bask in their hard-won glory.
"This year we hope to extend many of the things we've been working on," Mrs Jamieson continued.
"One of the things we're looking at is expanding our activities over to Buckpool.
"A category the judges scored us on was wildlife so we're planning to put up watering stations in gardens for bees and butterflies. We also hope to get a water bowser in Cluny Square to encourage more groups to come down and get involved by watering the plants and so on.
"The theme for this year's It's Your Neighbourhood is the Year of Stories and we're keen to involve both younger and older people.
"We're interested in hearing folks' ideas of things we could do or develop."
What makes Buckie's Roots triumph all the more laudable is that much of the work which secured the award was done under the shadow of the Covid pandemic.
Mrs Jamieson added: "We adapted to the regulations and got on with it.
"We had to make the way we worked in the square Covid secure, for example having our own wee areas to work away in.
"Earlier in the pandemic we were keen to identify people who were self-isolating or shielding, which is where Crafty Roots came. It was a case of 'you don't have to join us to be part of us' and we encouraged folk to knit items for the craft bombs or grow plants we could use."
To find out more about Buckie's Roots, or to sign up as a volunteer, follow their Facebook page.