PLACE Community officer – Job Opportunity

The Southern Uplands Partnership – PLACE in the Biosphere

Location: Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Offices Kirroughtree
Responsible to: Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Coordinator
Duration: Full time (consideration given to part time options)
Salary: £25k full time Starting date: Summer 2019


Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere was designated in July 2012 when it was recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature. One of only six Biospheres in the UK, it was the first in Scotland and joins an international family of over 669 Biospheres worldwide.

Covering 5268 sq/km of SW Scotland the UNESCO Biosphere designation is recognition of the fantastic array of landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities that the region offers for communities, businesses and visitors to experience and celebrate in a sustainable way.

The Biosphere designation brings no new rules or regulations but rather encourages us to work together to create a better future for people and nature.

The Biosphere also brings a unique opportunity to brand and market the businesses and communities of SW Scotland under the international banner of being a UNESCO Biosphere in a way that makes us stand out from the rest of the crowd!

Place in the Biosphere

“PLACE (People Land Art Culture Environment) in the Biosphere” is project developed by the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Dumfries and Galloway Council, South Ayrshire Council, Southern Uplands Partnership and Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.

PLACE in the Biosphere runs across three contrasting landscapes within the UNESCO Biosphere: the Borgue Peninsula; the Wigtownshire Moors; and the Stinchar Valley. They cover two local authority areas and were selected due to their distinctive landscape character and the desire of the nine local communities to engage more with their local natural and cultural heritage.

PLACE started in May 2018 and is helping people gain greater understanding of the cultural and natural assets of their local landscape within the Biosphere; the elements that make it special; the features that
make it distinctive; their economic, social and ecosystem value; and the potential for future landscape change. As a result, we hope people will be more engaged and have a heightened sense of pride in their local environment leaving them better equipped to take part in decision making across their area. The knowledge they gain will also open up opportunities for those that wish, to promote their locality as destinations within a UNESCO Biosphere potentially bringing with it new sustainable economic development opportunities.

Delivery of PLACE in the Biosphere is led primarily by a team of two Project Officers supported by a steering group comprising Biosphere and community representative. The project officers are supported each summer by two locally recruited paid intern placements who work alongside the project officers helping in delivery of the PLACE project.
The new project officer will be focusing primarily on communities in the Stinchar Valley.


The Officer will be employed and managed by Southern Uplands Partnership on behalf of the Biosphere Partnership. The main Project Office is at the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Offices at Kirroughtree, but it is expected that the Officer may need to be flexible in working from other locations and or occasionally from home. The Officer will also need to work some unsocial hours.

The Role

We are looking for a confident, outgoing individual who has a strong background in participatory community engagement.

You’ll need to have a good understanding of both the challenges that isolated rural communities face but also the attractions that living in such locations can provide.

You should have a proven interest and understanding in the natural and / or cultural heritage of south west Scotland and will be used to finding innovative ways of bringing it alive to people of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

You’ll also need to have an understanding of the roles that the different public agencies play in influencing the rural environment and how communities can engage with them.

You’ll need to be used to working both on your own and also as part of a team and should have experience of mediating between groups and individuals who may have strong views.

If this sounds like you then read on!

Stage 1 (The Stinchar Valley communities are currently mid-way through Stage 1 of the project.)
This will involve working closely with the individual communities located in each of the three Landscape Areas that “PLACE in the Biosphere” focuses on; using a range of engagement techniques you will work with the individual communities to identify their local heritage, their key areas of interest, and develop a program of events and activities that will help further wider community understanding and engagement with their local natural and cultural heritage.

Stage 2

This will involve bringing together the individual local communities in each Landscape Area where the focus will be on; sharing their individual heritage and identifying commonalities, shared issues and opportunities and exploring opportunities for the development of new links and initiatives between the communities.

Stage 3

This will involve bringing together the three Landscape Areas where; working within the context of the Biosphere, and with facilitators from different planning areas (eg. FCS, SNH, Local Authorities etc.) the communities will explore how they can be better equipped to feed into place shaping strategies (eg. Forest Design Plans, tourism strategies, Biosphere strategies etc.). Working with you they will explore new ways of working together and how as a group of communities they can have more influence on the future development of their natural and cultural heritage.

Terms and conditions

You will need to have access to your own transport and will reclaim work mileage at a rate of 45p per mile.

Leave is accrued at 3 days per full month worked.

Time off in lieu for evening / weekend work

SUP makes an 8% pension contribution to the NEST scheme for all employees

The Southern Uplands Partnership is an equal opportunities employer and we will consider all applications including from those interested in working part time.

Contract and notice

This is a fixed term contract until May 30th 2019. Four weeks notice in writing is required.
Application Process

Application is in writing clearly specifying the skills and experience you can bring to the role accompanied by a CV detailing your education / employment history and the names of two referees one of whom should be your most recent employer.

Closing date for applications is 12 noon on Friday 14th June 2019

Interviews will be the Thursday 20th June 2019

Application to be e-mailed to
Ed Forrest –

Person Specification for Community Engagement Officer

Knowledge, Skills and Aptitude

 A relevant degree or significant appropriate experience
 Excellent communication skills, both written and oral
 Understanding of community engagement techniques
 Understanding of rural development issues
 Understanding of the importance of sustainability
 Highly motivated and able to work under pressure
 Ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines
 Excellent Organisational skills
 Good Presentational skills
 Willing to work some unsocial hours

 Awareness of the roles that different public sector agencies play in the rural environment
 Good knowledge of the region
 Commitment to environmental sustainability
 Understanding of land use issues in SW Scotland
 Energetic and enthusiastic


 Experience of working with rural communities
 Experience of working with young people
 Experience of working in partnership with multiple organisations
 Use of social media

 Experience of working with the artists, writers, etc
 Experience of project management

Other requirements
Current UK Driving license and access to a vehicle

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