Creative engagement from the community

Community spirit at Countesswells

7th May 2020

Two metre distancing and government regulated exercising might be keeping friends and families apart during the current pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped the community at Countesswells from coming together.

Since lockdown began, residents have shown resilience and strength by getting involved in community activities and proactive initiatives.

Martin Dalziel, project director, explained: “Although the current lockdown has kept people indoors, this new reality hasn’t broken spirits across the globe. I’ve been encouraged to learn about stories from Countesswells emerging every day, of community spirit and acts of selflessness.

“Although the community has always been at the heart of the growing development, with a community orchard and well-loved children’s play park already popular, it has been heart-warming to see the inventive ways that residents are keeping spirits high.”

In addition to offering neighbourly help to pick up shopping or collect prescriptions, many of the residents have also begun thinking up fun and imaginative ways to entertain families.

Creative engagement from the community was first spotted when new homeowner, Gillian Paterson offered up her jigsaw puzzles to help suppress isolation fatigue.

She said: “My fiancé and I moved to Countesswells just before Christmas, and in that short space of time have been very much made to feel like part of the community. On our first day, all of the neighbours came around to introduce themselves which was such a lovely gesture and one that cemented that we had made the right decision in making a home here.”

Having joined the resident Facebook group, Ms Paterson noticed that many of her fellow town residents were looking for things to do – including jigsaw puzzles.

“I have a whole collection of puzzles that I hadn’t touched in months and thought this would be a great way to give something back to the people who had made us feel so welcome. So, I had all the boxes disinfected and left nine of them out in the garden for people to collect. It’s proved popular and they were all quickly grabbed.

In addition to the jigsaws, other residents have also taken it upon themselves to boost morale with newly decorated rocks to find across the different pathways. This includes rainbow and medic-inspired works of stone art as well as some inspiring messages.

In addition to the actions of residents, Countesswells Development Limited has also worked hard to keep the community safe and well. Most recently, commissioning a special bus service to run a shuttle service between the town and local supermarkets.

Following the number 44 Stagecoach route being temporarily stopped due to the coronavirus, concerns were raised by residents who rely on the service to shop for essential supplies. Developers quickly stepped in to fund a twice-weekly bus service to transport residents.

All construction work being carried out by the four home builders on site, Stewart Milne Homes, Barratt Homes, CHAP Homes and Kirkwood Homes, has also been shut down.

Health and safety teams, site supervisors and others adopted and followed every measure and precaution, in line with Government advice, to protect employees, contractors and residents during this unprecedented time.

thinking up fun and imaginative ways to entertain families