Chairs Report – Kirknewton Community Development Trust AGM

The KCDT AGM takes place in the Green Room, Thursday 23rd April, 7.30pm.  Here is the report from the Chair of activity from September 2013 to August 2014

The year started with the final touches being made to The Green Room following a summer of construction which mostly went smoothly despite additional demand to reduce shadowing which involved an extra £20,000 of cost to hip the two north facing gables of the structure. The Solar Panels were installed and started producing electricity and heating water immediately. After a struggle with BT to install broadband and telephone services through the ductwork we provided, and not strung through the air our new community space was finally ready for use.

Paths and access at the community woodland were vastly improved with an enthusiastic team of volunteers who all had a very successful two days clearing felled trees and creating wood chipping the new pathway.

Big Lottery had agreed to fund a full-time member of staff for the Trust but it was decided that two part-time staff members might help to deliver a broader range of skills. In September 2013 we were lucky enough to recruit Zoe Hubbard and Jennifer Ba to take on responsibilities for youth and volunteer liaison, general administration and the day to day management of the Green Room.

We funded Jupiter Artland visits and cycle tops for primary school kids The Christmas Fair was a great success having relocated to Kirknewton House Stables through the kindness of Mr Charles Welwood.

Various directors of the trust made contributions to the consultation by Scottish Government on the Community Empowerment Bill which should pass into law in 2015.

Paul Wheelhouse MSP  ( Minister for Climate Change) officially opened the Green Room in May where we already had  bookings for at least 3 hours activity a day, allowing more activity based groups into the Village Hall We increased the number of adult volunteers by 10% and introduced new youth initiatives, including the youth club.  Along with volunteer support and business skills we immediately hit our Leader and Lottery targets for year one and started to make a real difference for the local community.

We finally secured a most generous Community Benefit agreement with the developers of the Fauch Hill windfarm despite more than a few obstacles on the path This agreement was more valuable than any other deal offered to any other Scottish community and would have involved this community in the shared ownership of a turbine as well as a generous income fund. Sadly the opportunity was subsequently lost as the Scottish Government ruled against Fauch Hill on the grounds of visual impact.

We launched a proposal to build a small number of amenity houses at Camps Junction for the use of elderly folk of Kirknewton who struggled to maintain or occupy larger homes through changing needs , bedroom tax or the loss of a partner.

The Kirknewton Pharmacy was granted a licence to operate , hopefully the letter of support that the Trust provided had, in some small way, helped to influence this decision by NHS.

Finally KCDT made a bid to Forestry Commission Scotland for a number of small Hydro Electricity opportunities that became available. It is the intention of the trust to work in close partnership with the host communities to secure success in delivering this £5M investment.

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