Local children 'appy to get involved in Heritage Trail

Children from primary schools in Banff and Macduff are getting hands on experience in mobile application development while helping to produce Treasure Trails celebrating the two towns.

As part of regeneration activity in the area, the trails are being developed to help highlight the history and the culture of the area in a three-year project.

In the first phase, primary seven classes from each school are contributing to the development of the application, which will help residents and visitors easily find out more about the area.

Global Treasure Trails are the owners of the application, which enables young people to design and upload treasure and heritage trail information for their area.

Developers work with children in the classroom to develop their digital skills, then local historians help the children identify suitable locations and information for the application.

The information gathered by the pupils is then uploaded onto the app, to be downloaded for free by anyone with an interest.

It is intended there will be three trails in the two towns: one in Banff covering the area of the Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) on Bridge Street and Low Street, another in Duff House and one in Macduff.
 
Last week a P7 class from each school was at Duff House on a research trip, to find out more about the historic venue that is run by Historic Environment Scotland.

Banff and Macduff Regeneration Officer, Naomi Mason, is taking the plans forward after the idea for a heritage trail was first suggested by Banff Preservation and Heritage Society.

“This project enables young people to experience and develop new technology, and gain a greater appreciation for their local area,” she said. 

“It offers 83 pupils the chance to work on a really unique product which they can be proud of for years to come and which will help create interest in and regenerate the area they are growing up in.”

Chairman of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Andy Kille, said: “I’m pleased to see collaborative projects coming forward which make use of our local assets and encourage young people to take pride in their home towns.

“The regeneration activity currently taking place in our northern towns is very important for their future, so it’s great to see local children having direct input.”

Gillian MacNee, Learning Officer at Historic Environment Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering Aberdeenshire Council on this project.
 
“Duff House is one of the most impressive buildings in the north of Scotland and has a fascinating history, and these digital trails are a great way to get young people engaged with this rich heritage on their doorstep, particularly as we look forward to the Year of Young People in 2018.”

The CARS project, which is funded by Historic Environment Scotland, has provided finance for the Banff Trail, Historic Environment Scotland has also helped fund the Duff House Trail and the Macduff Trail is being resourced from the council’s Macduff Regeneration Action Plan.

The further two phases of the heritage trail project will build on the work already carried out by the council during recent community consultation events.

Drop in events were held to encourage community involvement in suggesting stories and local legends to be included. Old photographs are also being sought.

The project will also see the creation of a website with additional information and ten interpretation boards around the area.

Some of the project aims are to improve harbour and town connectivity, promote walking and cycling, increase visitor numbers and encourage an interest in local history.

The application is expected to be complete and available for download next Spring.