Group encouraging people to use questionnaire to propose ideas
A GROUP, which distributes windfarm benefit funds, is conducting a survey to identify legacy projects for the whole of eastern Dumfriesshire.
Dumfriesshire East Community Benefit Group was set up in July 2017 to help communities manage windfarm money from the Ewe Hill 6 and Ewe Hill 16.
It is possible that, in the future, other funds will be directed through this company, providing a significant pot of money for investment in the area.
The group consists of community representatives from the five allocated areas benefiting from the funds, although it has made awards to groups just outside these designated areas.
They are defined by the windfarm developers and come from Corrie Parish Hall Committee, Hutton Community Fellowship, Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk Community Council, Middlebie and Waterbeck Community Council and Tundergarth Parish Hall Committee.
The questionnaire gives people the chance to express an interest in being involved in these groups.
The funds have supported various groups and activities,
including sports clubs, like Lockerbie Golf Club, Foodtrain which provides meals to the
elderly, Annandale Community Transport Service, which provides transport for rural communities, Langholm Playcare, Xcel and upgrades to community halls.
In 2019 the group engaged Creetown Initiative Ltd to carry out a study on how best to use these windfarm funds.
The idea is that, while supporting small projects, as already happens, some funds could be committed to longer-term projects with a lasting benefit
beyond the life of the funding.
These include legacy projects to benefit a wider audience and projects providing benefits to help the wider community.
The first stage was to carry out one-to-one interviews with interested parties to get a feel for what is needed in the area.
More than 160 interviews were held and, as a result, several
issues and topics emerged:
issues, which people wanted to be dealt with, or projects, which they felt could benefit the whole of eastern Dumfriesshire.
Based on these findings, 5,800 questionnaires are being delivered between Lockerbie and Langholm this week to give everyone the chance to have their say.
A spokesman said: “We hope people and families will sit down and take a few minutes to fill in the form.
“Not all questions will be relevant so we are asking that people fill in only what is important to them.
“There is space for people to put forward their ideas. They may not always be within the terms of the windfarm funds as they stand at present.
“But future funds may have greater flexibility so ideas should be aspirational, while having a wider community benefit rather than a personal benefit.
“The result of this work will, hopefully, lead to projects being delivered.
“The questionnaire will help DECBG determine what is both needed and wanted by the people in the region.”
The questionnaires must be returned by February 29 to a FREEPOST address on the back of the form.
Every form returned will be entered into a free draw for a prize of £200 as long as a name and address is provided.
The survey is also at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/DECBG