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Perth pupils embark on project to design its future community

Creative workshops get underway at Bertha Park High School

THE FIRST of a series of workshops have taken place which will see school pupils shape the design of a major new development in Perth.

Renowned charity Capability Scotland plans to create a showpiece, residential campus at Bertha Park – and has turned to it future neighbours at Bertha Park High to help with its design.

The innovative project is part of MOBIE, the Ministry of Building Innovation and Education, which was created by popular TV architect George Clarke to inspire young people more engaged with building the homes of the future.

Stephen Oswald, Capability Scotland Project Lead, said: “The workshop with MOBIE challenged everyone to think outside the box when it came to defining a community.

“Young people aren’t afraid to let their imaginations run wild and it was fantastic to see all the creativity when discussing what concepts should be implemented.

“From 2026, we will be next door neighbours with the high school, so it was key for us to begin building this relationship now. There is no better way to get young talent involved than by asking them to help with the design.

“We had no doubt the ideas uncovered at the workshop would be amazing. The creativity and inclusivity identified at the first session is something that will underpin all of the activity going forward.”

Creative workshops get underway at Bertha Park High School

Capability Scotland currently operates the Upper Springland campus in Perth, but plans to replace it with a new, purpose-built facility at Bertha Park.  The £25 million development will push boundaries to create a nationwide exemplar of what is possible in providing housing and care for people with complex needs.

Over thirty high school pupils attended the first workshop alongside children from two schools run by Capability Scotland. During the session the started outlining ideas of how the future community should be shaped.

As well as partnering with MOBIE, Capability Scotland is also working closely with Perth and Kinross Education and Children’s Services to forge strong and positive links between the new high school and the residential development.

Further workshops are planned later in they year and will also involve pupils from eight feeder primary schools and residents of the existing Upper Springland campus.  It will also involve pupils from two schools run by Capability Scotland, Stanmore and Corseford.

Creative workshops get underway at Bertha Park High School

From September MOBIE will also invite colleges and universities across Scotland to submit ideas and concepts around how to created “community” as part of the challenge.

MOBIE believes that young people are the key to shaping the future of our homes and communities and will help facilitate for the “Building a Community at Bertha Park” design challenge to be integrated into part of those schools’ involved curriculum.

Bertha Park High School is the first completely new school built in Scotland for 25 years and has capacity for 1100 pupils, including 35 with additional support needs. It is one of 17 schools globally selected as a Microsoft Flagship School using advanced technology to enhance student learning.

Capability Scotland’s Upper Springland campus on Isla Road has three registered services and offers residential and respite care to 59 adults with physical and learning disabilities. There is also a day service, as well as a hydrotherapy pool, theatre and walled gardens.

However, while the quality of care is outstanding, the site is now more than 40 years old and becoming more difficult to maintain. Climate change also means it faces an increasing flood risk from the River Tay – and the charity wants to create state of the art new flagship services.

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