By Nicol Nicolson, Community Enterprise Manager, Langholm Alliance
MOST of us would agree that 2020 hasn’t given Langholm and Eskdale a lot to celebrate.
While the rate of our recovery from COVID-19 is still uncertain, let’s hope 2021 will be a year the community can remember for all the right reasons.
September 19 will mark the 400th anniversary of the signing of the charter establishing the burgh of Langholm. We should start thinking about commemorating the event in style.
As most of you know, our town and surroundings have dozens of community groups; arguably more per head of population than anywhere else in Scotland.
The purpose of the Langholm Alliance is to serve as an umbrella organisation representing and promoting the interests of all the organisations, businesses and individuals making our community so special.
There’s no better time to bring everyone together than next year as we emerge from one of our darkest chapters and seek to shine some light on what we can achieve collectively.
When the population came together to draw up our 2030 Community Action Plan to boost lives and livelihoods over the next decade, one of the agreed objectives was the celebration of this anniversary.
With 2021 only weeks away, it’s time to put some plans in place.
We have to be realistic. Coronavirus may still be a major factor in our lives well into the year ahead.
Regardless of that, we should be ready to come back fighting. I’m appealing to all our groups to consider how you might play a role in this major milestone in Langholm’s story.
I’d like all groups whether social, charitable, agricultural, heritage-focused, sporting or artistic to think about an event you might be able to host, or already plan to host, in the weeks running up to September 19.
Depending on the circumstances, we may have to keep such events community-focused and possibly socially-distanced.
If the outlook improves, we can start to think about selling Langholm and Eskdale’s story and its wealth of community spirit and talent to the world.
But let’s be ambitious. We should have a full calendar of events representing all aspects of who we are and what we stand for in place by early spring.
We should work towards rolling out those events during the summer and early autumn.
Obviously, we’d all like the Common Riding to return to its traditional glory and we need to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Langholm Rugby Club.
Newer additions to our landscape should also play their part such as the Langholm Chilli Club’s proposed Chilli Fest, which has the potential to expand into a major culinary attraction if restrictions are lifted.
Furthermore, we should harness the renewed interest in our great outdoors, sparked by the Langholm Moor community buyout.
Over the coming weeks funding will be sought to help us get the bigger projects off the ground.
But this is a year for everyone so, if you’re a smaller group worried about planning an event in tricky financial times, let’s talk about what support might be available for you.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can start to collate your ideas with a view to making them a reality.
Let’s make Langholm’s 400th birthday as a burgh one which puts a spring back in our step by September.