THE High Street was buzzing last Saturday as families and individuals took over several premises and voiced their hopes for Langholm’s future.
Pidgin Perfect, a Glasgow-based organisation, and OutPost Arts ran the High Street takeover as part of the Upstart project which was co-ordinated by Peter Renwick of SURF (Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum).
Langholm is recovering from a difficult 2018. The town is looking to the future and asking ‘what will happen next?’.
Upstart is a project committed to ensuring the important voices of Millennials (22 to 40) and Generation Z (13 to 21) are involved in developing the plan.
Pidgin Perfect had previously held brunches in the Old Post Office over three Saturdays to get the opinions of people aged 14 to 40 and Saturday’s event was designed to be fun as well as informative.
Some of the ideas from Saturday include a recycling plant, affordable spaces for businesses, heritage centre, community gardens, cycle path for children to cycle to school along the riverside, bothy or bunkhouse, zipwire, waymarked mountain bike and horse riding trails, soft play, swimming pool, outdoor adventure centre and child-friendly walks.
Abi Blunt, junior designer at Pidgin Perfect, said: “The last four weeks have been great. We started initially by engaging with high school pupils and we talked to 40 of them which was really fruitful.
“We understood very quickly about what the youth do in Langholm and what they think about it.
“Over the first couple of weeks we tried to get opinions about what there is currently. We then held a design workshop and that focused on opportunity.
“The idea was to have a drop-in session and create a relaxing space where people could come in and have a conversation.
“James Blackburn of FTS Dyers helped us a lot and it was good to have a familiar face who people could talk to.
“The takeover was a fun way to tie up loose ends and people could still drop in and have a conversation. It was incredibly successful and useful.
“We used the candle-making workshop to create four fragrances: community garden; farmers’ market; home comforts; and outdoor retreat.
“Lots of people said the scenery and outdoors were massive assets to Langholm and they need to be capitalised on more, especially among the older age group we engaged with. They said Langholm could offer the same things other small towns did.
“Using maps is a useful way to show the areas people engage with or not. It’s a useful trigger.”
Pidgin Perfect will submit its community action plan to SURF on April 19.