THE Langholm Alliance steering group recently held a public consultation and, as a follow-up, its sub-groups have submitted summaries of the work they have been doing in preparing for the launch of the community action plan.
IN EARLY 2019 the tourism sub-group set out to develop a plan specifically to promote and develop tourism for our area as part of the overall community action plan being developed by the Langholm Alliance.
From the offset, the group wanted to develop a strategy to address some of the difficulties faced in trying to make the most of what the area can offer to locals and visitors and develop a plan in a way which would be deliverable within a reasonable space of time.
The time we hoped for the first phase was six to 12 months.
The group has worked tirelessly for nine months to get to the stage where we have almost realised our plan in full.
The plan stated that we needed to develop a brand identity for Langholm to use under many of our attractions such as heritage, nature, sporting, food and drink, crafts and arts.
We have achieved this by engaging a specialised marketing company Ospray which did extensive research into what connected people with place.
Several options were shortlisted and the sub-group, along with support from the wider group, decided on the best option for the brand identity.
The group has successfully helped to finish a new website by a local trust, designed to inform and promote what Langholm offers residents and visitors looking for a new destination.
This was shown to many people attending the consultation in the Buccleuch Centre and received positive comments on the work completed so far.
The group has done a marketing strategy to promote the area’s many attractions and events.
This will be achieved by engaging with potential visitors through targeted campaigns on social media and through extensive networking with likeminded groups, industry organisations and representatives to ensure they are fully aware of what we have to offer and packaging it in a way which makes it simple and easy for these groups and organisation to take and promote these events and attractions via their own marketing channels.
This refers to VisitScotland and others, like Famously Hawick, Visit Newcastleton, Visit South West Scotland.
We are delighted the work done to date has been well received and we will launch this to locals, industry leaders, local and government officials on November 14.
We are all excited about what the next 12 months hold, with much more work to do to ensure we are in the best place to welcome all to our area.
Health and social care
AFTER attempts over 20 years to build new health facilities in Langholm, it is apparent this has become impossible.
The extra sheltered housing, new health centre and out-of-hospital beds planned for the Townfoot site had seemed possible.
But because more than half of Langholm was designated a flood plain and with ruling that any buildings developed for elderly care had to withstand a 1 in 1,000 year flood prediction, Townfoot was ruled out.
Langholm has an ageing population and, while we believe it is important for younger people to stay in or come back, we recognise an adequate health and social care service is an important part of this picture and a vital element of what helps to create a good quality of life for all residents.
Langholm is fortunate that Thomas Hope Hospital meets some of these needs from a medical perspective.
Health professionals see it as a 19th century building delivering 21st century care but say it is under no immediate threat.
Under the community plan, discussion is needed with the health service on what other services can be included and how the building can be brought up to modern standards.
Meetings need to be held with health services, GPs, MP, MSPs, health minister and council officials to explore the possibilities.
The hospital is vital in ongoing patient care management and a crucial incentive in recruiting GPs.
The fact Langholm Medical Practice is a training and mentoring practice means it must be protected at all costs.
Many residents still believe a care home for the elderly should be explored and the issue of patient transport to hospital is an increasing problem. Most referrals are to the hospital in Dumfries which is not on any bus route from this area and is an 80-mile round trip.
Loreburn Housing Association’s project for elderly housing on the Murtholm will allow more elderly residents to stay in town and not be placed in a care home somewhere else.