At the moment it feels like the Development Trust are presenting you with several jigsaw pieces but you may need the big picture to help you put it all together. So here is my attempt to help you piece together the puzzle!
We currently have £110,000 of Leader funds to build the local Resource Centre on the Old Gospel Hall site. At the moment you will see on the site a large pole from which there are numerous strings, showing the height of the build. It is to help us work through current discusssions on shadowing with West Lothian Planning Department, which we hope to resolve in the next few weeks. The funding is dependent on getting planning permission and a building warrant. If this is not granted we lose the funding and the development.
We may lose much more. This project allows us to apply to the lottery for growing community assets. At the moment we have a funding bid of £330,000 in for consideration that will help fund a Development Officer, Admin/Finance support and a Volunteer and Youth Co-Ordinator for the next five years. If we lose the chance of having the asset (the Resource Centre) we are also in danger of losing the potential funding for the lottery. The current Development Officer role ends in April 2012. The good news is we have got through stage one of this application and are now working up a stage two application with the potential of some additional development support to do so.
The intention is for the Resource Centre to be self financing within five years (or before). Any shortfalls, salaries or development money needed to support activity in the village beyond the next five years will come from our potential community benefit and investment in renewable energy – such as the Fauch Hill Wind Farm development. It is important we know you support that initaitve, which is why the Community Council asked your thoughts on the Fauch Hill Wind Farm and the community benefit package/investment opportunity that has been negotiated by the Development Trust. Over 350 people participated in the survey and the final report will be published after the presentation of findings at the Development Trust AGM on 1st March at 8pm in the Village Hall.
To make things happen it is important we come together from time to time. That is why we ran the ‘Give It A Go’ event on Monday 13th February at 8pm in the Village Hall. This event has provided an opportunity to help action a youth project or start/join a new club, based on suggestions made in the Community Consultation in February last year and the Skills and Volunteer survey in November. In the interim some of these clubs could meet in the current Development Trust Office and Village Hall, or maybe the Church Hall, School or at the sports pitch. Ultimately there will be a place to go and support for what you want to do if the Resource Centre is built and additional funds are forthcoming.
On top of that it would be great to get five small teams working on the five themes of the Development Plan, utilising the time and skills available of volunteers in the village. I recently met with Volunteer Sector Gateway (West Lothian) to see how we could also support those volunteers. It would be great to have staff support to keep the Development Plan but to keep it on track these five teams will prove invaluable to the community. Work on this and the potential new groups will continue over the next few months.
The current Development Plan lasts for 3 years (to the end of 2014) at which point we will do another community consultation to inform the next five year development plan. That will no doubt be influenced by any developments with proposed Kirknewton Army Barracks from 2016 onwards.
Hopefully the jigsaw is coming together now. Remember you can find out more at the Kirknewton Community Development Trust Annual General Meeting on Thursday 1st March at 8.30pm in the Village Hall. You can read more about Development Trust activity in the 4 page report distributed with this months Konect magazine or on line here. If you have a question on the work of the Trust over the last year for the AGM please send it in by 28th February to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer it on the night.