The chair of Edinburgh and Lothians Greenspace Trust is standing down after a decade of dedicated service.
Carol Cawood initially became involved with the trust in 2006 when she was invited to speak at a Placemaking Conference.
Shortly afterwards she joined the Board of Trustees before becoming chair at the end of 2007.
ELGT is the green spaces charity for Edinburgh and the Lothians, working to extend and improve green and outdoor spaces for the environment and for people.
Carol has a social housing background and was director of Prospect Community Housing in Wester Hailes until 2014.
She was involved with improving the external environment for Prospect’s tenants on a 1970s peripheral estate where natural features had been destroyed, creating an ongoing challenge and priority for the housing association.
ELGT was instrumental in improving one of the few remaining woodlands in that area to promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging people to access the natural world around them – and the Westburn Woodland project was the first of a number of successful collaborations.
During Carol’s time as chair, the Trust has delivered more than 250 projects worth over £8 million across Edinburgh and the Lothians and developed programmes of activity that help improve health and wellbeing by using greenspaces. This includes woodland activities to improve mental health and the development of healthy lifestyle programmes.
Particular highlights for Carol have been the extensive work carried out at Hailes Quarry Park, previously a neglected former landfill site, now a much used and appreciated community asset. She also valued the many examples of path projects which have been created or improved as well as many community projects and workshops which have brought local communities together.
Carol is also a big fan of ELGT’s work improving vacant and derelict land where planned development has stalled, providing an opportunity for locals to use the area for activities such as community growing.
The Trust says it will continue to ensure that greenspace remains an essential part of the region.
Carol said: “I feel ELGT’s vision and resolve to fulfil it are admirable, as is the professionalism, creativity and enthusiasm of their staff team. It has been a genuine pleasure to have been part of their journey.”
Vice-chair Donald Anderson said: “Carol’s brought real vision and drive, she understands the importance of improving access to green space for everyone’s health.
“The setting of the city and all of the communities of the Lothians is better preserved and used as a direct result of all she has done. This has been achieved at the same time as the organisation has been made stronger in the face of a very challenging financial climate.”