THE Langholm Alliance has funded projects to the tune of £15,258 so far this year, including on the town’s 400th anniversary celebrations and the October ChilliFest.
It has also commissioned a chartered surveyor to undertake a vacant and derelict land and buildings audit.
The organisation’s AGM revealed that its community action plan would be refreshed with the public and groups as a result of the impact of COVID-19.
On the centre pages of today’s edition, the E&L Advertiser gives full details of the work the board and Nicol Nicolson, community enterprise manager, and Kerry Wonfor, assistant, have done.
This includes establishing Langholm as an outdoor recreation centre, creating better provision of space for young people and maximising the town’s potential as a heritage hotspot.
Also included are the former primary school building and supporting groups and causes as well as the audit.
Assigned spending from April to September this year:
• Langholm Alliance website design, creation and hosting courtesy of Creatomatic of Lockerbie – £3,828;
• Match-funding, to complement £5,000 from the Holywood Trust, to support the exhibition aspect of Langholm People, a workshop-led visual arts celebration of the town’s past and present organised by OutPost Arts to mark the town’s 400th anniversary as a burgh – £2,160;
• Match-funding, to complement £5,000 from EventScotland, secured through the alliance, and from local trusts, to support the Langholm Chilli Club’s inaugural ChilliFest, including Buccleuch Centre venue hire and set-up costs for events on October 22, 23 and 24 – £1,260;
• Vacant and derelict land and building audit by Carlisle-based Carigiet Cowen to identify opportunities, marrying needs outlined in the community plan with available, viable and sustainable sites – £5,610.
• Match-funding, to complement £2,000 from the Langholm Funders’ Forum covering artist costs, to cover printing and display costs for a shopfront timeline project telling the story of Langholm’s past 400 years, bringing heritage, a burst of colour and increased footfall to the High Street around the anniversary date in September about £1,800.
Denis Male, alliance chairman, reminded the members attending why the alliance came into being.
He said: “It came after meetings several years ago with Scottish ministers, our MP and MSPs, councillors and council officials, businesspeople and organisations.
“We were told Langholm needed a community plan and an umbrella organisation to bring the plans to fruition.
“After the alliance steering group was formed, an event was held with the forerunner of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), during which the possibility of a one-year pilot project was confirmed and would be put in place, with SOSE and Dumfries and Galloway Council putting up the funding.
The alliance took forward the development of the community plan and, working with the Scottish Communities Development Centre (SCDC), which funded the plan’s production, several events were held in the Buccleuch Centre for groups and individuals.
“When it was ready, an open day was held in the centre where the public gave its approval.”
SURF (Scottish Urban Regeneration Forum) also worked with the alliance through its facilitator, Peter Renwick.
In early 2020 the alliance steering group was formed into a company limited by guarantee and registered with Companies House. The plan was to gain charitable status.
The alliance advertised the position of community enterprise manager to start in June 2020 but the pandemic struck and Nicol did not start until October.
Ewe Hill windfarm and the Stevenson Trust funded the assistant’s post and Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council gave a grant towards the running costs of the High Street office.
The alliance continued to meet by Zoom and charitable status was secured last November.
Denis added: “Nicol and Kerry have carried out their tasks admirably under very difficult conditions.”
At the AGM Campbell Scott and David Stevenson stepped down but the board’s new members are Glen Cavers and Emma Duncan of Rose’s Wardrobe.
Denis said: “With the disruption caused by COVID-19, it’s felt it’s time to review the plan so we will try to hold sessions in the Buccleuch Centre with all the organisations, which want to be involved, and the public when it is allowed.”