Real woodland deal toasted in Douglas

Members of the Douglasdale Real Group were celebrating this week after being awarded a community asset transfer from the council.

The community asset transfer will enable Douglasdale Real Group to forge ahead with funding applications for its future plans.

That means the charity will now be able to forge ahead with work to improve the Douglas West Woodland.

Chairman Kenny Young, the group’s 25 members and scores of volunteers were delighted with the news.

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Kenny said: “We’ve been working on this for a number of years now and were delighted when the council agreed the transfer last Wednesday. We’ve already been doing work in the woodland, including in March when we planted some new cherry blossom trees.

"However, the asset transfer will enable us to take greater ownership of the area and we have big plans going forward.

"We’ve already carried out a feasibility study; the aim is to make the woodland more accessible.

"The asset transfer will enable us now to focus on securing additional funding from large grant bodies. Everything has now been agreed but there’s still some work behind the scenes to be done before we can get on with that work.

"The level of community engagement, energy, enthusiasm and perseverance shown by the charity effectively demonstrates our capacity to take on the site ownership.

“It presents a range of opportunities that will be of significant local benefit to the wider community.”

Plans to develop the woodland include improved drainage and paths and the potential to link in with national walking and cycling routes to bring economic benefits to the area.

Funding from SSE’s Sustainable Development Fund has also been secured and includes money to employ a development officer to work on the project for two years.

The woodland is known as Douglas West, named after the former mining village which once thrived in its place.