Gameshope Valley, Bare Southern Uplands

Project Coordinator – Job Opportunity

A New Job Opportunity – The Talla Hartfell Wild Land Area Project

Background

The Southern Uplands Partnership (SUP) is a local rural development charity established in 1999 to find ways of keeping people living and working in the rural South of Scotland.  SUP has a long track record of developing and delivering innovative projects.

The Talla Hartfell Wild Land Area (WLA) sits in the hills above Moffat in the central Southern Uplands and is recognised by Scottish Natural Heritage as an area with minimal signs of human impact.  It is one of only two such areas South of the Highlands.  A large part of the WLA is owned by Borders Forest Trust (BFT) and much of it is being restored by BFT to a wilder state.

SUP has worked with all the surrounding communities over the years and is keen to explore how the wild nature of this part of the Southern Uplands might allow a new rural economy to develop.  Traditionally jobs and income have been dependent on heavily subsidised sheep farming and semi-industrial commercial forestry (almost entirely Sitka spruce plantations). There is some tourism because the area is very picturesque (part of it was short-listed as a potential national park back in the 1960s) and one of only two National Scenic Areas (NSAs) in the Scottish Borders is found just north of the WLA, although it is not well promoted.  SUP is currently involved in a project to increase the Golden Eagle population in the area and it has previously promoted the idea of wildlife tourism.

There is a growing sense of uncertainty and insecurity especially amongst the farming communities and concern that if nothing is done to stimulate new ideas, the marginal farms will be converted to conifer plantations with suitable hill tops converted to windfarms.  This will sustain few jobs leading to further depopulation and have a negative impact on the WLA and on tourism potential.

Ideally, local stakeholders would like to see the development of a mixed economy that supports flourishing nature across the WLA whilst providing resilient economic alternatives for local communities.  This will involve some farming and forestry, some wildlife tourism, recreation, walking, riding, wild foods, fishing and the delivery of ecosystem services (carbon sequestration, flood mitigation, biodiversity etc).

Back in October 2015, the SUP hosted a meeting in Tweedsmuir to make people aware of the existence of the Wild Land Area and to encourage people to consider what opportunities this might offer.

The meeting was a positive event but no particular actions were agreed. During the following year, further discussions took place with key land owners of the area to get a better understanding of their current and future plans for the land holdings concerned.

In 2017 contact was made with Rewilding Britain who offered to help by commissioning an Economic Study of the wider area, looking at the current scenario and possible alternatives. In 2018, the task of assessing the current rural economy was put out to a tender and awarded to SRUC who have recently completed the study, which is available on request.

A second contract was then awarded to Conservation Capital to consider and quantify alternative economic scenarios based on the wild-nature of the area.  This work should be completed early in 2020.

It has been agreed that further development of this initiative now requires a dedicated Project Officer, focused primarily on community engagement.  There are three strands of work to be developed:

  1. To continue and enhance the dialogue that has been ongoing with the range of stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is aware of what is happening and can contribute to future development. Such dialogue will help identify opportunities for further work. This strand will be a combination of one to one meetings, group meetings and digital communication.
  2. Vision Development. To continue to develop a wider, long-term vision for the area which reflects the interests and ambitions of all the individuals and businesses concerned but which also considers wider issues and opportunities. The aim will be to bring people together around areas of common interest in ways that help them all.
  3. To identify a limited number of short-term projects that can be quickly funded and delivered so as to demonstrate the benefits of working together and to encourage further ambition and partnership.

We are now looking for a dynamic individual with experience of partnership working, community facilitation and land management who can continue to bring the businesses, communities and organisations together, to develop a new approach to local development and to start to develop a longer-term project plan.

Application Process

You will be employed by the Southern Uplands Partnership, an equal opportunities employer who supports flexible working.

SUP Application Form Talla Hartfell WLA PO (Word Format)

Applications should be emailed to piptabor@sup.org.uk on or before the closing date of 12 noon on Friday, 29th November 2019.

Interviews will be held in Selkirk on Thursday, 12th December 2019.

JOB DESCRIPTION

Post Title Talla Hartfell Wild Land Area Community Engagement Coordinator
Base Studio 2, Lindean Mill, Galashiels, TD1 3PE

Working between office base and Moffat area

Responsible To Partnership Manager, Southern Uplands Partnership

and Reporting to a Project Steering Group

Responsible For n/a
Gross Salary £27,000 pa
Pension Contribution Employer contribution 8% of salary (5% employee contribution)
Contract Period Temporary, fixed term, for one year initially but we hope to secure funds to allow the position to continue.
Contract Hours Full-time (37 hrs/wk)

It may sometimes be necessary to work outwith normal working hours (evenings and weekends), for which time off in lieu will be given.

Special Conditions

 

You will need to have a full driving licence, be willing to drive and have access to your own transport.  Business mileage is reclaimable, currently at a rate of £0.45/mile.

Overview

We are looking for a dynamic individual with experience of partnership working, community facilitation and land management who can bring the businesses, communities and organisations of this remote rural area together to agree and develop a new approach to local development based on the wild heart of the area that will sustain local livelihoods.

Job Role

The Wild Land project seeks to develop alternative economic options which support flourishing nature across the wild core of the area.  At present there are two predominant land-uses; farming (mostly sheep and cattle) and forestry (mostly commercial conifers). While these land uses will continue to be important, we believe there are other viable options to capitalise on natural and cultural assets of the area.  Tourism currently has a very low profile, and there are few facilities for visitors in these valleys.  Most of the accommodation, cafes and restaurants are in Moffat and Selkirk, 30 miles apart.

Developing an alternative vision will require a coordinated effort between landowners, communities, farmers, foresters, public bodies, NGOs, businesses and relevant experts. The people who live and work in the areas are those who know it best.  Local people – stewards of the land and the wider community – will play an integral part in shaping and co-designing the project.  The role of the postholder will therefore focus on reaching out and listening to people, communities and stakeholders within the Wild Land Area to engage them in shaping and co-designing the way the project develops.

JOB SPECIFICATION

Job Purpose

To work with all local stakeholders to develop the projects based on the wild nature of the area. Key to this will be maintaining good communication with the parties concerned. The project consists of three main activities:

  1. Develop and deliver an ongoing dialogue with local and regional stakeholders and through this establish where there may be opportunities to develop new projects.
  2. Use the outcome of these discussions to develop a shared medium to long-term vision for the area which is owned by those stakeholders who have worked with you.
  3. Develop a limited number of short-term projects that demonstrate how partnership working can    make a difference.

Main Responsibilities

  1. Build effective relationships and trust with people, communities and stakeholder groups.
  2. Help to disseminate the findings of the work commissioned to date.
  3. Work with local stakeholders in and around the Wild Land Area to develop a sustainable vision for the future use of the land within their control and influence.
  4. Liaise with local and regional agencies with an interest in the social, environmental and economic development of the area.  Prepare the content of and facilitate community meetings and workshops in project area – either individually, with the project team or partner organisations.
  5. Enable the development of partnerships, to support cultural and economic growth in the area.
  6. Support the collection and production of communication materials and contribute towards project reporting.
  7. Liaise with and learn from similar projects elsewhere in the UK.
  8. Report to and work with the Project Steering Group.  Explore opportunities to secure funding for appropriate local projects.
  9. Seek means of extending the project beyond the initial 12 months.
  10. Identify, apply to and secure funding as required.
  11. Ensure all activities are undertaken in accordance with all statutory requirements.

Performance Management

  • To manage your own performance in accordance with the values of continuous improvements, openness and honesty, local decision making and team working.
  • To manage your own performance in compliance with all Codes, Regulations and procedures including Code of Conduct, Health and Safety and Governance.
  • To manage risk, promote risk awareness and prioritise work in light of the risk analysis.
  • To take all reasonable measures to limit carbon emissions and reduce energy / resource consumption when undertaking work activities.

Talla Hartfell Wild Land Area Community Engagement Coordinator

Person Specification

Requirements

Essential (E) or Desirable (D)

E D Requirements

Essential (E) or Desirable (D)

E D
1. Education and Training 4. Knowledge
Degree level qualification or three years relevant experience E Microsoft Office E
Project Management qualification D Social media channels D
Ongoing commitment to CPD D Developing environment and Heritage Strategies D
Membership of an appropriate professional body (if available) D An understanding of current issues facing rural communities including economic, social and cultural issues D
2.   Experience 5.   Personality Factors
Working with key stakeholders, public agencies, businesses and community groups to develop and deliver projects, priorities and strategies E Confident and outgoing E
Experience of delivering ecological and economic development projects through effective partnership working D Team player E
Working to deadlines D Reliable E
Development and delivery of land use and/or community development projects D Self-motivated E
Management of Social media/websites D
3.   Skills and Abilities 6.   Other Requirements
Microsoft packages E Flexible approach to work duties E
Good written communication skills E Works well independently and as part of a team E
Record keeping / organisational skills E Can observe requirements for confidentiality E
Good verbal communication E Full valid driving license and willing to drive, with access to vehicle E
Good customer relationship skills D
Delivery of Countryside advice and legislation advice to internal and external stakeholders D
Able to work collaboratively with other agencies, partners and key stakeholders D
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