THE Langholm Initiative has received a grant award from the Holywood Trust to help re-energise the growing textile sector in the town.
It follows a six-month LEADER-funded collaboration with ReTweed in Eyemouth.
The Initiative’s project, Weaving a Future for Eskdale, will make training and skills development available for people of all ages in hand-sewing, machine-sewing, weaving and other woolcrafts.
The charity has gone into schools and worked with pupils on textile projects.
Earlier this month Jim Thomson visited Canonbie primary school and took with him some peg looms he had made, copied from an original owned by Margaret Caldock.
Jim donated the money he made from the looms to the British Heart Foundation. The children tried their hand at weaving with him and used some of the waste lunar tartan.
Judith Johnson, who manages the project, said: “One of the drivers of this project is to save waste textiles from going to landfill and make them into rugs, home accessories and even fashion.
“There is a big environmental message about recycling and we hope to do more of that this year.
More on the six-month collaboration can be found here: www.langholminitiative.org.uk/pulling-the-threads-together
The organisation has been working to develop textile-related opportunities in Langholm for some time.
Glen Isla moved its operations to Buccleuch Mill and the Initiative team helped in the recruitment of nine new jobs.
Other successes include collaborating with businesses to recreate the lunar tartan, first woven in 1972 in honour of Neil Armstrong.
The first man on the moon was made a freeman of the burgh of Langholm and the tartan was made to celebrate his visit.
The 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by Apollo 11 is on July 20 and the Initiative wants to ensure the area’s textile heritage and future plays an important role in celebrations.
ITV news programme Border Life, presented by Fiona Armstrong, recently filmed a segment about it for the show and visited Drove Weaving, FTS Dyers and Lynn Elliott of Elliott’s Shed.
The Initiative has also been awarded £20,000 from the Ewe Hill 16 windfarm community benefit fund.
That award is for a Richer Lives project, a continuation of anti-poverty work, including skills development, employability and enterprise.
The project will look at ensuring it can help to build skills in the community which help people to find work, provide opportunities which other communities in Dumfries and Galloway have access to and make sure everyone knows where to find the support they need.
By working with a range of partners, the Initiative hopes it can make a significant difference to the fortunes of the community.