Type of AAP Group

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The current picture is likely to change with new groups emerging. In December 2011 the following trends were identified from a wide trawl using the Paths for All contact database, attendance at the Scottish Countryside Access Network Fair in Perth in November 2011 and other networks and word of mouth.

  • About the same number of AAP Groups were led by Access Authorities as were led by community groups
  • Groups set up by Access Authorities were done so in recognition of AAP schemes being a way to monitor and maintain paths
  • Community led AAP groups were often set up either out of frustration at a lack of resources/action from Access Authorities or a genuine desire to contribute to the maintenance of paths in their area
  • Organisations with a regional remit such as Countryside Trusts were keen on the AAP mechanism as it allowed for more effective use of staff and volunteer time in a coordinated partnership approach
  • Scotland-wide organisations such as Sustrans and Scotways have always carried out AAP type initiatives but although with the same ideals simply under a different name. For example, the Sustrans Path Rangers scheme of recording, reporting and maintaining sections of the National Cycle Network and the Scotways ‘work party’ approach to maintaining particular features on paths such as bridges.

In addition, several other groups were identified as having potential to become AAP groups. These are listed in Appendix Two.

The case studies were selected to give a good geographical coverage as well as being representative of AAP group/scheme type. However, there was a trend of more AAP schemes being established in more rural locations. This may simply be a reflection of a wider, more established, ‘self-help’ tradition given that rural communities are more likely to be at a distance from services and support. A key point is that with access authorities becoming increasingly constrained by cuts in resources that this ‘self-help’ approach may be required to be increasingly encouraged amongst more urban communities more used to the benefits of being close to services and facilities.  

  

We found surprisingly few groups in the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) area. Detailed research into the reasons for this was not possible within the current project budget. However, it is possible that the lack of  AAP type groups may be due to some or all of the following:    

  • A feeling of ‘that’s the council’s job’ from some communities
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  • The AAP approach is still to be recognised and adopted by some CSGN Access Authorities
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  • The need for further encouragement/capacity  building amongst communities
   

The Paths for All (PFA) Local People Local Path (LPLP) initiative has been trying to address some of these issues but, again, most progress has been made outwith the CSGN area. It could therefore be argued that there is an important ‘capacity building’ role for PFA and other organisations particularly within the CSGN area.

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