A community in lockdown

14th July 2020

Countesswells, in the west of Aberdeen, has been hit by the coronavirus like the many other towns, cities and communities across Scotland.

The blossoming community has displayed a real sense of resilience as its 300-strong residents have banded together at their time of need. Friends and neighbours have offered to support each other with shopping and collecting prescriptions. Creative minds have implemented community ‘treasures’ including NHS inspired painted rocks to find during daily walks and the developers behind the town have given donations of plants to nurture at home and take-away treats to enjoy during lockdown weekends.

We caught up with residents and others involved with the growing community for their lockdown highlights.

Karen Bayliss has lived at Countesswells since 2017 with her husband and two sons, their dogs and horse, Jerry. Married to a keyworker and with a huge passion for her growing hometown, Karen was quick to start volunteering and running errands for the neighbourhoods at Countesswells.

She explained: “I feel incredibly proud of our community and how much we have worked together. Throughout lockdown, everyone has been mindful of government advice. We are all in contact on a private residents Facebook page and were able share ideas on how to pull together.

“Before lockdown, another resident, Gail Hughes, had started decorating rocks for people to spot when they were out walking. ‘Countesswells Rocks’ has really engaged the community during lockdown and more and more people started leaving their decorated stones. This has included Easter inspired works of art as well as a special selection for the NHS and Covid-19. Most recently, the town has been working together to create a giant rock snake in our community orchard. It’s been great to see different households adding to the collection and we’re looking forward to seeing the finished product!”

Creative engagement from the community

Read more about the community spirit here: https://www.countesswells.com/community-spirit-at-countesswells/

 Martin Dalziel is the project director behind the £1 billion new community. Working closely with planners, architects and other key stakeholders, Martin was disappointed with the inevitable closure of the construction site during the pandemic. However, his mood was lifted when he heard of the great community spirit that residents were showing.

“The new community have pulled together and it’s been heart-warming to see. We decided we wanted to give something back and came up with the idea of offering potted plants and herbs for residents to collect.

“Opting to shop local at Raemoir Garden Centre, we purchased around £900 worth of plants, donating around 100 pots for residents to collect. It is well documented that gardening is beneficial for your mental and physical health, and that plant life can actively lower stress and lift mood. Something we’re sure everyone is grateful of during these challenging times.

green thumb

“In addition, we’ve also launched a ‘take-away competition’ where five homes can win their weekend treat on us every week. Just like everyone else, we know residents are missing eating out in the city centre or surrounding towns including Cults, Westhill and Kingswells. We wanted to bring back some of that ‘weekend’ feel and foot the bill for a takeaway of their choice. Response to this has been great and we’re thrilled to reward families throughout these later weeks of lockdown.”

Find out about the green giveaway here: https://www.countesswells.com/countesswells-community-spirit-continues-to-grow/

 Paula Rough is the head teacher at Countesswell Primary School. Mrs Rough has been integral in ensuring the children of Countesswells receive a first-rate primary education. Just weeks after plans and images for their permanent school were revealed, pupils were forced to switch the classroom for their living room.

“I am so proud of how our learners and their families have embraced this rapid change to their lives. It has been lovely to see them utilising their home environment and while continuing to learn they have been having fun.

“We’ve seen video entries from our pupils that included getting fit at home, exploring the beautiful outdoors at Countesswells and adapting to this new normal. Although it’s been an interesting and challenging task for all involved, I can’t get wait to get back inside the classroom and hear all about the pupil’s lockdown lessons!”

To see some of the work Countesswells pupils have been up to watch the video: https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/video-aberdeen-teacher-praises-kids-creativity-during-lockdown/

The Number 44 Stagecoach bus was a popular and vital service running from Countesswells prior to it being postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus.  However, after concerns were raised by residents who rely on the service to shop for essential supplies, developers behind Countesswells quickly stepped in to fund a twice-weekly bus service to transport residents directly to the nearest supermarket for essentials. 

Karen Watt, community liaison officer said: “We were really touched to see many neighbours offering assistance on their community Facebook page and were immediately concerned that the suspended service could leave some residents stuck with no way to buy food for their families.  There was no doubt that we wanted to step in and support the community.

“Funded by Countesswells Development Limited, the new temporary service, which began in April just weeks after initial measures were put in place for the pandemic, offers a shuttle bus service to the nearest supermarket. Running twice a week, it provides the best flexibility we can, whilst lockdown measures are in place.

Get on board with the replacement bus service: https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/aberdeen/2128528/replacement-bus-service-offers-salvation-to-stranded-of-countesswells/

 Susan Mackie is a salesperson for Stewart Milne Homes at Countesswells. She’s worked at the sales centre for a year and has fallen in love with the green landscape and traditional values that the town is built on. 

 “Countesswells is such a unique place to live. I love showing potential home buyers around the streets and explaining the potential that the new town has to offer.

“I’ve missed coming into the sales centre every morning but have been heartened to take calls and enquiries about moving to the community. With the population relegated to home, those little niggling issues they’ve never paid much attention to, might be starting to feel bigger, and any itchy feet you had prior to the pandemic outbreak might be feeling like they really need scratched now. We’ve done all we can to still offer new homes for sale and give something for prospective home buyers to look forward to!”

New homes can be viewed and purchased from a variety of home builders at Countesswells. In addition to Stewart Milne Homes, Kirkwood Homes, Barratt Homes and CHAP Homes are all offering a mix of virtual tours, offers and support to help you get the keys to your new home just as quickly as before.

For more information check out: https://www.countesswells.com/how-to-find-your-new-home-from-home/