Dumfries and Galloway (UK) August 2013

Dumfries and Galloway is the third largest local government region in Scotland. It lies on the border of Scotland and England and has a population of 146,000 people. The main centre of population is Dumfries with around 32,000 inhabitants. There are 2 other large towns called Stranraer in the West with just over 10,000 inhabitants and Annan in the East with just over 8,000 inhabitants.

Dumfries and Galloway is predominately a farming region with 75% of the land used for agriculture and 25% used for Forestry. These industries provide the main employment opportunity for inhabitants.
There is also over 200 miles (322 Km) of coastline, which provides great sporting and leisure opportunity. History and heritage plays a big part in the culture of our region and has been home to many famous historical figures such as Robert Burns, Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. Many of the towns and villages in our region can boast some extraordinary facts such as having the world’s oldest Post Office in Sanquhar, the highest village in the UK at Wanlockhead and the oldest working church bells in Scotland at Lochmaben.
Rurality is not seen as a barrier in the region by any means, and the communities are made very resilient and resourceful by the people who chose to make living here their home.

The projects

CREETOWN INITIATIVE

A scenic coastal village and popular tourist area with a population of around 640. Creetown’s traditional sources of industry were mining and fishing, but these have now largely been replaced by tourism. Creetown’s demographics are changing as young people leave for the cities and retirees move to the area. This has highlighted the need for more and improved services to respond to the needs of an aging population.
In 2002 a group of local people came together to examine options for providing affordable housing and regeneration projects in the Creetown area. Subsequently, in 2004 the Creetown Initiative was set up to address a range of local needs. In 2006 the initiative accessed funds to employ a full time project worker to take forward its regeneration plans. Since 2006 we have created 3 full-time posts, and 7 part-time or occasional posts and in 2009 became a social enterprise/development trust/community anchor.
The projects:

  • a muga which is used by local peonle an those from wider area
  • a new youth group
  • former St. Joseph's church is being deveopeld to create a new community centre
  • arts projects for people of all ages
  • community woodland project
  • micro-hydro scheme
  • single wind turbine project
  • domestic carbon reduction programme
  • playing fields
  • community car sharing club
  • wheels2work scooter loan scheme

WHITHORN TRUST

The Whithorn Trust was set up in 1986 to explore the archaeology and history of Whithorn, and to examine its role in the evolution of Christianity in Scotland.

The Trust was established as a direct consequence of an archaeological excavation at Whithorn in 1984. This project showed that remains had survived which dated back to the early centuries of Whithorn's development as a Christian centre. These discoveries were so significant as to justify further investigation.

The Trustees include representatives of the Church of Scotland, the Catholic Church and the Scottish Episcopal Church, leading scholars of Early Christian and Medieval archaeology, history and architecture, and representatives from local authorities, banks and commerce.

ISLE FUTURES

Isle Futures is a regeneration project dedicated "to improving the economic, social and environmental life of the Isle of Whithorn.

What is Isle Futures?
Isle Futures is a Registered Charity and community-led company limited by guarantee with currently 8 Trustees and over 300 Members. This number of Members, from a village with just over 300 residents, as well as elsewhere in the country , illustrates the high level of community involvement, support and commitment to the project.

What are the long term aims?
In addition to addressing the needs of the local residents, the regeneration plans will address four areas: The Natural Environment, including the traditional industries of fishing and agriculture; as well as Crafts and Skills, Tourism and Accommodation.

The Gatehouse Development Initiative

Amongst a range of benefits, the GDI can save smaller projects the need to be formally established in their own right, can provide support with fundraising, provide insurance, indemnity cover and public liability cover, and provide book-keeping/accountancy services. Originally formed by the Community Council as a fundraising arm, it was converted to a charitable company which brought additional benefits in fundraising powers and legal protection for members.  The Initiative continues to work closely with the Community Council. The Gatehouse Development Initiative exists for the benefit of the Gatehouse Community and provides a framework for the development of projects within the community. 

Many community groups are represented at meetings which provide for a useful exchange of ideas, and for reporting on the progress of current projects. Most projects are run by project managers who are often the initiator of an idea and who may have their own project team. Meetings are open to all and membership of the GDI to all Gatehouse residents.  New members and suggestions for new projects are always welcome - meetings are friendly and informal.

The Langholm Initiative

Langholm Initiative was formed in 1994 to improve the business, social and physical environment  of Langholm and the surrounding areas.
This is some of what the initiative has achieved/ groups assisted:

  • High Street face lift scheme and Parliament Square parking area
  • Langholm and Eskdale Music & Arts Festival
  • Bonnie Langholm - The Langholm Initiative provide and maintain beautiful floral displays and planters on the High Street.
  • Langholm Walks Group promote the area as a walking destination.
  • Moorland Project and Prehistoric Trail - these are green tourism projects.
  • Recycling Project - Community Composting Centre
  • Christmas Lights - organisation of the switch on and displays of lights.
  • Thomas Telford - a series of events to commemorate the famous local civil engineer's 250th Birthday.

Eskdalemuir Community Hub

Multi-purpose community centre owned and managed for the community by the Upper Eskdale Development Group Ltd a community not for profit organisation

When the Eskdalemuir Primary School closed a group of local people came together to try and make something positive come about as a result of this loss by ensuring that the school remained a public asset. In a village with no pub, shop, post office etc. the opportunities for people to meet spontaneously or join in events and to take part in social, educational, artistic and other community activities was pretty limited. So a community owned company UEDG was formed to develop the premises as a Community Hub. Plans are in place and approved to rebuild the dilapidated rear part of the building and create a flexible ‘green’ building which will serve lots of different purposes including café, shop, meeting and consulting rooms and spaces for local enterprises and caring services to grow and prosper. Meanwhile whilst the funds are being raised for this rebuild, the building is open for business with lots of events and activities taking place. Anyone is welcome to join in and help get things going. All this is aimed a making Eskdalemuir and the surrounding area an even better place to live.

LOCHMABEN

The Royal Burgh of Lochmaben is a small town in the southwest of Scotland, 4 miles west of Lockerbie and 8 miles east of Dumfries.
Location map for Lochmaben
It has a population of around 3000 and is conveniently situated for major road and rail networks. As the name suggests there are three small lochs edging the town, which give great opportunity for enjoying wild life, sailing & fishing.
Lochmaben has a long and interesting recorded history from the time of Robert the Bruce, with a number of notable residents. The town enjoys a good variety of sporting and social activities throughout the year. These include an 18 hole golf course that welcomes visitors, a bowling club, tennis club, sailing club and a number of youth and amateur football teams. Coarse fishing is available on all three lochs. The town is also a good centre for walkers, with eight miles of scenic paths around the town. For cyclists, there is a large network of quiet minor roads linking Lochmaben to adjoining towns and villages, and the town is close to the popular Seven Stanes mountain bike centres at Ae forest and Mabie forest . The Lochmaben Centre and the Church Hall caters for a number of indoor activities with active groups from toddlers to senior citizens. Other activities include a local pipe band, who are always looking for new talent, curling clubs, a bridge club and a very active Church Guild. In Templand, a small village two miles to the north, activities centre on the village hall. Check the Activities page and What's on page for more information about activities in Lochmaben.