I recently went to the Development Trust Association of Scotland conference in (what’s it called?) Cumbernauld and was very impressed with the ‘can do’ attitude of the people involved and the amount of projects that got off the ground, and were successful, with very few resources and cash in the bank. It was refreshing to see that, even when communities had problems or issues they also had workable solutions.
I was also impressed that, in the face of a funding crisis, many communities are looking at projects that will bring in an income (however small) that make a difference to the people who live in their communities.
Not everyone has to give 100% to their community. If all you do is show your support for our community force bid of £6000 at http://communityforce.rbs.co.uk/project/881 before 21st October, that would be fine. If you were one of the 250+ people who voted for our Energyshare bid that’s great too. However there are some people who do want to go the extra mile in Kirknewton and that is fantastic.
This month, for example, two people came forward interested in changing an eyesore in the park and looking at cycling tracks in Selm Muir wood and around the village. One idea will provide the village with a small youth art project in the new year. Another has encouraged a further 14 people to offer help with a major cycling project in the local area, with a first meeting scheduled for November.
Volunteers on the Allotment Association are putting on a brand new Apple Day event at the end of October and the Playgroup are putting on another bingo night to help raise funds and provided light hearted entertainment for those who want to join in! Others in the village have given up their time and expertise to help with planning work for the proposed resource centre at the Old Gospel site plot.
The work in the park was instigated by members of the village with a ‘can do’ attitude. Another person has taken the mantle to help move forward some of the traffic issues in the village that have been highlighted recently. Many people let their feelings known when we needed support to continue our food waste trial.
Behind the scenes there a number of people who have skills to guide our negotiations with wind farm developers so we can help raise funds to pay for our development plan. Others are making sure that the infrastructure of the village is maintained if the army move barracks here. Individuals campaigned against and others let their feelings known about the proposed underpass near the train station that made Network Rail think again about their plans.
I recently did a presentation for £110,000 of Leader funding for the Resource Centre on the Gospel Hall site. I used some of this good community work as part of the presentation and I think, from initial feedback, your continued enthusiasm paid off! Hopefully the bid will be successful and we will have a more suitable home for new (and old) groups in 2012 that will allow for more activity based groups to utilise the village hall!
Sometimes you feel you are part of something big! What amazes me is the ink is all but dry on the Kirknewton Development Plan and before it is launched officially on 01.11.11 the people of Kirknewton are actioning some of the objectives already!
We know there are many more unsung heroes in the village who give their time and energies to projects that benefit others – members of the Parent/Staff council who put on the School Spring Fair, members of the Gala Committee who rain or shine make the event happen and unpaid carers who look after young children or the elderly in the village, for example. We know there are many more of you out there who have skills that can be used. We know many of you want to help in any way you can – just simply by popping by on the day of an event and helping out (even at the last minute!).
11 days after the launch of the Development Plan, on 11.11.11, we will have a skills and volunteering audit for the village. Over 11 days we will be gathering information that will give us a sense of who does what in the village currently and what you might like to do.
The audit will also give you the opportunity to say what skills and how much time you feel you can give to working with groups and projects in the village. You may get inspired and offer a new service to the village. You may be looking for something new to do and we hope to give you advice on how you can get involved or match you with others to get an idea off the ground. You may even want to lead on one of the village development plan themes or get involved with a project that will help achieve the objectives of the plan.
So mark it in your diary. As we chase the ghouls and goblins away on Halloween we launch the Development Plan and prepare for the challenges to make the village and surrounding area of Kirknewton even better over the next three years! Sure there will be disagreements and setbacks – but we can do it, we will do it, we are doing it and I hope we have a lot of fun along the way!