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Bertha Park locals meet for pop-up picnic to strengthen community ties

Bertha Park residents have come together for a pop-up picnic.

A pop-up picnic has brought neighbours of a new Bertha Park housing area together for the first time since the pandemic began.

Organised by the Rev. Anne Stott, around two dozen people gathered on a grassy area near their Springfield Properties homes.

Attendees were able to chat to their neighbours, many of which had never met each other due to the pandemic.

Social distancing was adhered to in line with current government guidelines.

Community space

Mrs Stott has served as the community Minister since 2019. She says the church is currently looking to create a community space but wanted to already begin bringing locals together.

She said: “The church is very forward looking and my role is to nurture a new way of doing church in Bertha Park.

“The General Trustees of the Church of Scotland are in the process of buying premises which will be used as a community drop-in space where people can meet.

“However, it is unlikely to be available for use until the autumn so I thought to myself ‘What can I do in the meantime to bring the community together?’

The Rev Anne Stott.

“So, I thought a pop-up picnic was a great opportunity for people to come along with their own picnics, chairs and blankets and meet their neighbours for a couple of hours.

“We provided hand sanitiser and a leaflet detailing social distancing rules and it was a marvellous day of sunshine and fun.”

She added: “We have been living through turbulent times due to the pandemic and my mission is to show that Christianity offers peace, hope and strength.”

‘Friendly and positive’

A former teacher, Mrs Stott says she is enjoying her role in strengthening community ties in Bertha Park.

It has been “challenging” but she has continued to ensure community spirit in the area is kept up, with residents responding positively.

She said: “It has been exciting and interesting having to adapt the role of ministry in many ways.

“Without a focal point to gather, connecting with people has been challenging but that said, the first lockdown last year provided an opportunity to form partnerships with other community groups and local charities to provide food and prescription deliveries to the community.

“I have found people to be very friendly and positive and as it is a new housing area, they are quite outward looking, open and keen to have local community events.”

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