£1.44m Secured For Johnston School, Kirkcudbright

Creetown Initiative has successfully secured £180,000 from The Robertson Trust on behalf of Kirkcudbright Development Trust for the redevelopment of Johnston School in Kirkcudbright, taking the current funding total up to £1.44million! Other funders for this community-centred project include The Big Lottery, Heritage Lottery Fund, The Holywood Trust, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Historic Council.

Community Activity and Resource Centre

The former Johnston School was closed in 2009 when the new Kirkcudbright Primary School opened. Exciting plans will see the redevelopment of Johnston School into a community activity and resource centre, with many different elements designed to provide facilities and opportunities for the whole community. This includes a youth work wing, Police Scotland contact space, childcare venue, business/office spaces, general room/venue hire for community groups and organisations and also a state of the art Dark Skies Visitor Centre.

Click here for more information about the redevelopment of Johnston School.

Feasibility Study for Castle Douglas Community Centre

Creetown Initiative is pleased to be able to work with the Management Committee of Castle Douglas Community Centre, to provide a feasibility study. This feasibility study will investigate whether the Management Group should take over ownership of the community centre building. We secured this contract in early December and work will begin on this very shortly.

Castle Douglas Community Centre is currently run for the community by a voluntary management committee, however Dumfries and Galloway Council still retain ownership of the building. There are 29 groups that use the centre during week days 10am – 4pm. There is also a conference suit available for hire with tabled seating for 30+ people and included in the hire is the use of a TV, DVD Player, Flip chart and Whiteboard. To date, the Management Committee has applied for and received funding from The Holywood Trust, The Village Halls Improvement Scheme and The Galloway Association of Glasgow which has enabled a part re-decoration and refurbishment of the centre.

Kirkmichael Community Action Plan

Creetown Initiative has been engaged to develop a Community Action for Kirkmichael, on behalf of Kirkmichael Community Council. Kirkmichael is a parish 8 miles north of Dumfries with a population of around 683 and the two main population areas are Nethermill and Parkgate. Kirkmichael is entitled to wind farm benefit funds and we are creating a robust Community Action Plan to research, analyse and draw up a plan to report the best ways to use these funds to improve the community and local area.

For information about other community action plans we have carried out, please click here, or contact us.

Coldstream Community Action Plan

Since March 2016 we have been working on developing a new Community Action Plan for the community of Coldstream, in the Scottish Borders.  The plan is being designed to provide a researched, up-to-date understanding of Coldstream, and to propose appropriate actions for improvement and regeneration within six broad fields: Tourism, Retail, Industry, Young Families, the Elderly and Community Capacity.

Vibrant Community

Coldstream has a vibrant community and fascinating history, with over 60 community groups.

Photo credit: Jason Patient

The town is roughly midway in journey time between Edinburgh and Newcastle upon Tyne and on one of only five arterial roads crossing the length of the Scottish-English border. Coldstream is centre to a surrounding agriculturally fertile and historic region. Following doscussions in 2016, Coldstream Community Trust and Coldstream and District Community Council, formed a steering group. With four representatives from each committee, the group guided the production of a new new community action plan, for which, we have been engaged.

Please click here for examples of other community action plans.

 

Stranraer’s First Oyster Festival a Massive Success

We are proud and delighted to have been able to support Stranraer Development Trust to create the immensely successful first Stranraer Oyster Festival.

Oysters all round!

Organisers have hailed the event a ‘massive success that exceeded all expectations’, with over 10,000 people visiting during the weekend.

Famous Faces

Mr Bloom wows the crowd

The three day festival saw sell out performances, demonstrations and events, with crowds flocking to see Hardeep Singh Kohli, Mr Bloom from Cbeebies and local spectacles, like the giant seafood paella created by John Henry of Henrys Bay House Restaurant. More than 500 people took part in the inaugural Big Oyster Bash at North West Castle, a highlight of which was a rendition of Bonnie Gallowa’ by 17 year old Stranraer Academy pupil Kathleen McClenaghan.

Three Thousands Oysters Consumed!

Three thousand oysters (a third of a tonne), were consumed over the weekend, many of them by people who had never tried an oyster before, including many local children. Market stall holders sold out completely of pies, cakes and sticky toffee puddings, 150 kites were designed and flown by young visitors to the festival and feedback from local accommodation providers suggests the area was fully booked within a 20 mile radius of Stranraer.

Romano Petrucci, Chairman of Stranraer Development Trust, who organised the festival, said:
“The Festival was incredible and it shows just what can be achieved when our community works together. I heard a comment by a visitor that this was the weekend when Stranraer fell back in love with the sea. Our beautiful town has always had an affinity with Loch Ryan and with the sea, but when the ferries left town our connection with the water went with it. We lost a bit of our identity, but our first Oyster Festival has given us that back.

Live music at the festival

“We may no longer be a ferry town, instead we are now a destination to visit rather than a place to travel through. Our oysters have helped us to craft a new identity for our town. Stranraer will quickly become known as a tourism and food destination, somewhere to visit for incredible seafood, warm hospitality and stunningly beautiful vistas.

“Feedback from local businesses is overwhelmingly positive, with increased sales across the board and many businesses reporting record breaking sales. We are inspired and excited by the potential of Stranraer Oyster Festival and we have already come up with a host of ideas for how to make it bigger, better and more delicious next year.”

Celebrating Stranraer’s Seafood Heritage

Families enjoying fresh seafood

Stranraer Oyster Festival is Scotland’s first major oyster celebration. It was designed to celebrate the seafood heritage of Stranraer, including Scotland’s last remaining wild, native oyster fishery in Loch Ryan.

The festival also hosted the Scottish Oyster Shucking Championship in partnership with Seafood Scotland. The hotly contested competition saw local oyster expert Tristan Hugh-Jones of Loch Ryan Oysters win the title. He went on to represent Scotland in the World Oyster Opening Championship in Galway.

Click here for more about our work with Stranraer Development Trust.

Derelict Barholm pub is transformed

BARHOLM – BRAND NEW EN-SUITE, AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE IN CREETOWN

We are excited to announce that Barholm Accommodation is now open for bookings! Barholm offers pleasant, comfortable accommodation to suit shared occupancy, as well as double and single private rooms, all en-suite.

Perfect for families, couples, travellers, visitors, outdoor enthusiasts and dogs are welcome too!

Contact bookings.barholm@gmail.com or phone 01671 820810

Big welcome to our new staff

Creetown Initiative welcomes new staff members:-

Elaine Marr, Accounts

Elaine is a Director/Company Secretary of WRDC, after working there for over 32 years as a full time employee – running the Trust on a day to day basis, giving out loans, client interviews, project work/management (on behalf of the Council and Scottish Enterprise, including Foot and Mouth loan project management), tourist information point, etc. She now runs WRDC from home and works part time for Creetown Initiative as an administrator/accounts lady.  She enjoys cruise holidays, so runs a cruise/holiday franchise in her ‘spare’ time.

 

Jenny Adams, Barholm Centre Manager

Jenny is the Centre Manager, and has been responsible for beautifully fitting out the accommodation rooms, she is extremely particular about cleanliness, so guests can expect the highest standards.

 

Panny Watson, Barholm Centre Assistant Manager

Panny is second in command of the Barholm Centre and is a Mr Fixit, he can turn his hand to anything.

 

Ben Herries, Barholm Project Worker

Ben is the project worker for the Barholm Centre he runs the cycle hire and cycle repair centre as well as the community shop.  Ben also helps out with the accommodation.  He is a member of the Creetown Football Club.

 

Harvey is the new Marketing Assistant for Creetown Initiative.  He’s been working on the marketing for the Barholm Enterprise Centre, amongst other things for the Initiative. He studied Communication, Advertising and PR at Napier University before moving back down home to Dumfries and Galloway. He splits his time between working in the Creetown Initiative office and as part of the Wigtown Festival Company.

Kirkcudbright Development Trust – Multi-stranded Community Projects

Creetown Initiative has been working with the newly formed Kirkcudbright Development Trust to develop a series of community projects, aiming to provide opportunities for residents and improve the local economy of Kirkcudbright. We landed the contract at the end of 2015 and are pleased with how Kirkcudbright Development Trust are really beginning to establish their community engagement via the development of multi-stranded community projects.

 

Johnston School

A key project has been the redevelopment of the former Johnston School into a community activity and resource centre that will provide a range of services and facilities to will benefit the community as a whole. It will:

  • have multiple spaces for multiple uses and user groups, including community groups, childcare providers and education and training programme providers
  • attract businesses to set up or relocate into the building, bringing trade and economic benefits into the town
  • have a youth work wing that is accessible to all local young people, with appropriate facilities and services to enable local youngsters to flourish and meet their full potential. The newly established Kirkcudbright Youth Project will relocate here
  • provide an information and contact point for Police Scotland to operate out of
  • provide a venue for a Galloway Dark Skies Visitor Centre.

Check back in the coming months to find out the progress that has been made to secure funds and develop this exciting project further.

 

Dark Skies Visitor Centre

Dark Skies Visitor Centre will attract both the serious astronomer and those who have more of a Sci-Fi interest. The Johnston School is situated at the head of major road that leads to the Dark Skies Park and we believe that as well as providing a tourist attraction for Kirkcudbright, we will also act as promotional vehicle that helps push more people north into the Dark Skies Park. This will benefit the communities situated in the Dark Skies Park area, and Dumfries and Galloway in general. In the plans there is a small scale planetarium, interactive exhibits and we are helping the Trust to work with the Glasgow Science Centre to ensure Kirkcudbright Dark Skies Experience is outstanding.

 

Silvercraigs Caravan Park

We have been working with the Trust to initiate the community take over of the Silvercraigs Caravan park, which was formerly council run. The park is now under a service level agreement with Dumfries and Galloway Council and a core group of volunteers from the Development Trust have been working hard to make improvements to the site, including upgrading the electric hook ups to 16amps, installing heating in the toilets, installing free wifi and general tidying and improvements.

 

Kirkcudbright Youth Project

Three new part time youth workers have been employed by Kirkcudbright Development Trust since March 2017 and they are being line managed by the Creetown Initiative Senior Youth Worker to develop youth provision in Kirkcudbright. After a few months of consultations and detached (street) youth work, a weekly youth project began in May 2017 and runs term time on Wednesday nights, currently in the Scout Hall, for young people p6 – S1 (juniors) 6pm – 7:30pm, and S2 – S6 or age 17 (seniors) 7:30pm – 9pm.

Stranraer Oyster Festival – Official 2017 Dates!

Creetown Initiative can now reveal the official 2017 dates of the Stranraer Oyster Festival – 15th – 17th September!

Since November 2015 we have been working with Stranraer Development Trust to secure funds and support them to develop a Stranraer Oyster Festival – major annual international festival that will celebrate not only the famous Loch Ryan oysters (Scotland’s only wild, native oyster bed) but also all other local produce.

Unique to Stranraer

The unique natural resource of Loch Ryan Oysters is an asset to the town that is not currently used to its full potential.  At present oyster are sent around the world but the connection with Stranraer is not recognised. The festival provides the opportunity to make this connection, increase visitor numbers to the town and support the economy of both the town and surrounds. Although the event will be called the Stranraer Oyster Festival and they will certainly be the headline, all local produce from land and sea will be included, thereby supporting all local producers.

Oysters are considered a luxury food, but oyster festivals are by no means elitist. Oyster festivals tend to take the oyster as a focal point and then create a celebration of local food, local culture and the local community around it. As Scotland’s only wild and native oyster fishery there is a huge opportunity here for Stranraer to use its unique oyster and coastal heritage to create a festival of national significance.

New Jobs and Community Support

A fantastic sum has been secured by Chris Hanna, one of our project workers, to fund all aspects of the Stranraer Oyster Festival and has allowed the Trust to employ a Festival Officer, a Youth Programme Co-ordinator and a Festival Assistant. An oyster festival has been talked about for some time by various groups and organisations and we know from initial talks that there is excitement and huge support for the event.

Other projects we have helped Stranraer Development Trust to carry out to date include Stranraer in Bloom floral enhancements and the setting up of a Resilience Fund.