THE GLENKENS HUB: CONNECTING A COMMUNITY
The Glenkens Hub is an exciting new project that aims to connect the residents, community groups, businesses, charitable organisations, and visitors across the Glenkens. It is free to use and complements its successful print format, the Glenkens Gazette, with a digital version that curates all the same and more news, stories, and events online to create a more connected and informed community.
It is designed to serve communities in Balmaclellan, Carsphairn, Corsock, Crossmichael, Kirkpatrick Durham, Laurieston, Mossdale, New Galloway, Parton, and St John’s Town of Dalry.
Matthew Shedden of the Glenkens & District Trust (GDT) sat down with Helen Keron, Executive Manager of the Glenkens Community Arts Trust (GCAT) to discuss the Glenkens Hub, in its conception, implementation, and future. Browse it and bookmark it yourself by going to www.glenkens.scot.
Background and motivation
The project was born out of a desire to evolve the ever-popular Glenkens Gazette into a future-ready resource that could adapt with a changing world. The Glenkens & District Community Action Plan (CAP), published in 2020, highlighted the need for such a solution. A subsequent communications survey reinforced this. The goal was simple: to create a central location where stakeholders in the Glenkens could access relevant news and events, whether online or in print.
Proposed solutions and resources required
The primary solution was a website with a focus on quality, curated content. Other mediums, like a Facebook page and Instagram page will follow in time. There were no strict goals, other than to help achieve the "A Connected Community" outcome in the CAP. It is expected that initial engagement will be buoyed by the stellar reputation of the Glenkens Gazette, while the quality of the Glenkens Hub will drive repeat usage.
The stakeholders of the Glenkens Hub are twofold: residents and visitors, and community groups, businesses, and organizations. Early on, it was decided that the Glenkens Hub would be produced and developed coordinated internally – rather than outsourcing. This approach is already paying dividends. This is because it enabled the project to be more tailored to residents, by being rooted in the community. Getting the right people involved has been integral to the successful launch of the Glenkens Hub and Helen wanted to pay thanks to all the volunteer reviewers and contributors.
Another decision which is acknowledged as being advantageous is opting for funding from local bodies like the Glenkens & District Trust and the Galloway Glens Landscape Partnership*. The freedom and flexibility afforded ensured high-quality project completion, despite changes to the original plans being required. This flexibility demonstrates the power and strength of local funders.
Positive results of the Glenkens Hub
Though early days, positive results of the Glenkens Hub are already being felt throughout the community. It has provided a central location for news and events, making it convenient for stakeholders to stay informed. News stories from other channels, such as DGWGO and Police Scotland, are curated and shared, making the Glenkens Hub a go-to place for all things Glenkens.
So far, the Glenkens Hub has been a resounding success: amplifying the positives of the Glenkens Gazette and providing a much-needed resource for the community. By focusing on quality content and community engagement, it has helped create a more connected and informed community. The future looks bright for the Glenkens Hub, and we can't wait to see where it goes from here.
GLENKENS PROJECTS SPRING FORWARD WITH £159,000 FUNDING AWARDED BY THE GLENKENS & DISTRICT TRUST
Glenkens & District Trust, working in partnership with Foundation Scotland, is delighted to announce a further seven awards in its spring round of funding, with a total sum of £158,966 awarded.
This round saw strong representation of two of the key priorities from the Glenkens & District Community Action Plan, an Asset Rich Community and an Economically Flourishing Community. Balmaclellan, Dalry and Kirkpatrick Durham communities all received awards to support improvements in their facilities which will help maintain these key community assets.
Jim Reid , Chair of Dalry Town Hall SCIO commented:
“The award from Blackcraig Windfarm Community Fund allowed us to leverage a grant from Scottish Government CARES Fund for our Net Zero project. The project will provide improved hall heating whilst offsetting energy usage by employing a PV Solar array and also enhanced heat recovery from our roof space.
Moreover, as we move the project to completion, lessons learned by us can be shared with other local community spaces intent on the same journey”
The GDT Trustees were delighted to see that so many applicants were members of the Glenkens Community Spaces Network. The network is currently funded by GDT to provide support and shared learning opportunities to local village halls and other community owned assets. To join the network contact the Glenkens Community Spaces Network coordinator on email@example.com .
The other strong theme related to enterprising community organisations, significant awards were made to some well-known local social enterprises, as well as several awards supporting the maintenance of local jobs and job opportunities - meaning more than ten paid roles will be supported by Trust funding in this round.
New Galloway Community Enterprise received £30,000 over three years to retain local employment opportunities and support the sustainability of the shop; and the Glenkens Food Hub, run by Propagate (Scotland) CIC, received £23,975 to support the continued delivery of the popular local food hub in the Glenkens area while it redevelops its business model.
Other supported projects involving paid roles included £22,333 awarded to Glenkens Community & Arts Trust (GCAT) Ltd to deliver youth-directed young people’s activities for the next two years, and a three year award to Loch Ken Trust’s Ranger Service. GDT provided some initial funding two years ago which enabled the Loch Ken Trust to test the service, which has gone from strength to strength and become recognised as a valuable service across the area. GDT has now made its most significant award to date - £60,000 over three years, to provide stability for this key local initiative.
Mungo Bryson , Chair of Loch Ken Trust, said:
“Loch Ken Trust is absolutely delighted to receive such a strong show of support from the Glenkens community and the Blackcraig Windfarm Community Fund…From this firm foundation, we will be looking to develop Loch Ken Ranger Service over the next three years into a service that we can all be proud of. We would encourage everyone to get in touch and get involved.”
The Education and Training Fund is proving to be a helpful source of support for local residents. Set up in autumn last year to provide bursaries supporting local people to access education and training opportunities, seventeen individuals have accessed grants amounting to just over £21,000. A further allocation of £20,000 has been made to this Fund in order to make this support available to people on an ongoing basis.
Finally, the Glenkens & District Trust is delighted that the funding pot available to local communities will be increasing during 2023 due to a new agreement with the owners of Windy Rig wind farm – more information on this exciting news will be shared on this very soon. Congratulations to all the successful applicants in this spring round. For more information on the fund visit www.glenkenstrust.org.uk. The deadline for the next round of funding for community organisations is the 19th of September.
GDT'S ANNUAL REPORT 2021-2022
Have you see our Annual Report? It covers our activities across the year to 31st August 2022. Inside you can read about how, across the year, we continued to deliver our funding whilst also building our relationships, supporting the implementation of local Community Action Plans and working together with our members and other stakeholders to ensure the interests of our communities are kept to the fore for any future onshore wind developments in our area. Feedback welcome!
BLACKCRAIG AWARDS WINTER 2022
The Glenkens and District Trust, working in partnership with Foundation Scotland, is delighted to announce a further ten awards made from the Community Fund in its winter round, with a total sum awarded of £126,362.
The Trustees are always pleased to see applications spanning the full range of the Fund’s strategic priorities but in this round there was a notable concentration of applications focused on providing benefit to the youngest members of our community which felt particularly vital to Trustees as the impact of the cost of living crisis starts to impact on family budgets and opportunities - including £12,966 to support Scottish Childminding Association to recruit, train and support five new childminders in the Glenkens, increasing local childminding provision and early learning and employment options for local families; £1,000 to Crossmichael and Parton Playgroup to hire a minibus once a month for a year, enabling nursery children to get out and explore their local area and natural environment; £350 for Springholm Nursery to buy a laptop to assist with an outdoor education project photographing natural materials and putting them under the microscope; £1,310 for Springholm Parent Council to enable primary children to access ranger-led outdoor education sessions at Loch Ken; and finally £3,026 for Crichton Carbon Centre to promote ‘Biosphere Explorers’ resource packs that will help increase local primary school pupils understanding of climate change, biodiversity and sustainability.
On this crucial issue of climate change, the Trustees were also pleased in this first round of fund where larger and multi-year grants were available, to make an award of £45,000.00 over three years to the Galloway Fisheries Trust, to contribute to a project delivering tree planting around streams in the upper Urr area (pictured above). The project aims to protect waterways from the impact of rising temperatures, enabling habitats to remain viable for instream species through shading, and helping to maintain good water quality, as well as preventing erosion and encouraging biodiversity by helping to connect fragmented landscapes by acting as wildlife corridors. This project builds on the first phase which the fund had also supported.
Once again Trustees were pleased to see that the priorities identified in the Glenkens & District Community Action Plan (CAP) published in 2020 are now starting to come to fruition in the shape of developed projects which are being taken forward by a range of local community organisations.To enable the Glenkens Community & Arts Trust to continue their leadership role across the CAP they received an award of £25,000.
Congratulations to all the successful applicants.
A full list of awards can be seen here.
NEW EDUCATION & TRAINING FUND
In line with our existing Fund priority, An Economically Flourishing Community,
GDT is delighted to launch a new Education and Training Fund, which aims to support people aged 16+ in the fund area who want to access education and training opportunities.
A wide range of course types, durations and support costs can be considered, with a maximum award of £3,000 available over 3 years.
As with the Community Fund, we this Education & Training Fund is being delivered in partnership with Foundation Scotland. For all the Fund information please check the Foundation Scotland website here.
GLENKENS HOUSING NEEDS -
NEW REPORT PUBLISHED
Earlier this year Glenkens & District Trust commissioned South of Scotland Community Housing to undertake a housing needs and demand analysis for communities in the Glenkens.
A Housing Needs and Demand Assessment (HNDA) is the key that unlocks the door to strategic and funding support for community-led housing initiatives as it is a key component to demonstrate that there is need and demand without which projects would not receive funding support.
Glenkens & District Trust will also consider how best to use this useful report and ensure it is circulated to all relevant groups and individuals to seek to get some momentum behind the numerous issues raised. In the meantime if there are any local groups or community organisations who have an idea for a project to develop community-led housing, for further advice and information please contact SOSCH who will be happy to provide support with your project.
You can read the full report here.
NEW GLENKENS & DISTRICT COMMUNITY FUND LAUNCHING
Now that more money is becoming available to our communities through agreements made with the Greencoat Windy Rig windfarm, the Carsphairn Renewable Energy Fund and others to come, it’s time to give the community fund arrangements a new identity – the Glenkens & District Community Fund.
This newly branded fund will provide a single, consistent application process and set of priorities which keeps it simple for applicants and easily identifiable for the Glenkens and District community, regardless of the source of money.
Fiona Smith, Chair of the Fund said :
“We are delighted to be able to announce the launch of the Glenkens & District Community Fund. We thank all of the fund donors who are contributing to this new arrangement, both the windfarm owners and community partners at the Carsphairn Renewable Energy Fund. As the number of donors to our communities increases our aim is to continue steward funds to a high standard, while keeping it simple for applicants”
For applicants, all the application forms and the fund priorities will remain the same as they were with the Blackcraig fund, and GDT continues to work in partnership with Foundation Scotland. The next application deadline to the Glenkens & District Community Fund will be the 19th of September. For further information please check <New URL> .