Liz Thomas led a team of collaborators to facilitate a series of co-design workshops with pupils at Parson’s Green Primary School in Edinburgh. This pilot project tested engagement and co-design methods, to lead on to the successful funding of a much larger Sustrans ‘Places for Everyone’ funded piece of work.


Cluster Connections was Stage 1 of a parent council initiated ‘safe routes to school’ project, which was successfully awarded Places for Everyone funding in early 2019. Ultimately, the project looks to work with the 5 primary schools which feed Portobello High School, seeing a series of school walkabouts and workshops to explore local places through childrens’ eyes, on foot or by bike. Children travel considerable distances on leaving primary school to get to their High School, and the aspiration of the project is to share local knowledge and problem solve missing connections to make a more accessible, safe and inclusive network of active travel routes to school.

This project was Phase 1, piloted in Parson’s Green Primary School, in April - May 2019. The process of engagement with children and parents, findings and emerging potential design ideas were fully reported in a Monitoring and Evaluation Report. Also captured are the findings and learning from the process, packaging templates of materials which were deemed by the Parent Council at the feedback event to be successful, and refining tools which didn’t harness the creative energy or which could be developed to offer wider reaching, more inclusive, more inspiring workshop resources.

These key outcomes from the Stage 1 pilot formed the basis for a Stage 2 proposal, wherein the pilot project’s tools are taken forward but in a mindful and creative way, across the other 4 primary schools in the ‘Cluster Connections’ area.

In August 2019 the parents who had originally initiated the project - a team of representatives from both Parson’s Green and Duddingston primaries, found out the second stage of funding has successfully been awarded. The structure of the pilot project will now be rolled out in the other 4 primary schools in the Cluster area to weave a web of mapping, ultimately capturing the way children experience their route to school across the whole Portobello High School catchment area.

Due to relocation, team capacity, and other project commitments, HERE+NOW will not lead on the phase 2 project, but will support the parent council team ‘on the other side of the table’… also an empowering place to be!

Take a look at other examples of our work and projects.