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Glenkens and District Trust has appointed the community research organisation, CoDeL, to research and report on developments in rural education.
As local and national debate continues around high quality education in the context of rural depopulation and falling school rolls, Glenkens & District Trust (GDT) took the step of commissioning research, in order to provide access to information about the wider picture beyond the Glenkens, and learning about how other communities facing similar circumstances are responding.
Following a tender process, a community research organisation based on Uist, Community Development Lens (CoDeL), was successful in its bid to carry out the work. CoDeL is committed to community development in a rural context, paying particular attention to the creation of opportunities for younger people to influence and reshape their local communities.
CoDel’s work will involve case studies of other rural areas, working with local organisations, collating existing research and building a network of interested parties. It will culminate in a report that will inform the debate and offer new ways of thinking for community groups on the topic of education, both for the Glenkens and beyond.
Fiona Smith, Chair of GDT, said:
“GDT is pleased to have appointed CoDeL to carry out this work. CoDeL is extremely knowledgeable about the current challenges faced in rural communities and the need to address the underlying contributory factors to depopulation. They demonstrated that they understand education’s role in a thriving local community and we’re confident CoDeL is going to bring its expertise, values and creative thinking to the local context here in Glenkens.”
CoDeL expect to be making links with local stakeholders over the next few months and will also be liaising with the Glenkens and District Community Action Plan Steering Group’s Education
Subcommittee, which will be discussing education and learning in the Glenkens through a community lens.
Thomas Fisher, Director at CoDeL said:
“We are always pleased and encouraged to be commissioned by a community organisation. It shows a community committed to staying at the heart of local decision-making and to finding new ways to make the best decisions for their residents. We look forward to working alongside the Glenkens community, learning more about the local context and hopefully bringing our own expertise to bear.”
While the final report will be a valuable tool in informing thinking and discussion, it is also hoped that the process itself will be an important one in which local people can connect, build links and share ideas.

Image by Element5 Digital


Glenkens & District Trust is commissioning a piece of research to explore developments in rural school-age education in Scotland and beyond, particularly in areas that are experiencing depopulation. The Trust is hoping this will be a useful tool to inform and facilitate local discussion of the issue. You can read the full tender here.

Image by Emanuela Meli


The Glenkens and District Trust, working in partnership with Foundation Scotland, is delighted to announce that the Blackcraig Community Fund has now paid out £1 million since the Fund launched in 2019, supporting projects across the Glenkens & District area.

Since the Fund launched, over 119 awards have been made through the main grant making fund right across the area of benefit, and £110,000 in total has gone to the Community Councils in the area enabling them to make small onward grants to benefit their local community.

The Fund has also been instrumental in catalysing a community action planning process and seeing this move from aspiration and ideas into the active delivery of projects, overseen by a local Community Action Planning steering group.

In the latest main grant funding round this month, the Glenkens & District Trustees awarded £62,000 to four projects which will provide benefits right across the area. £15,000 was awarded to Moniaive Playcare to restart the afterschool care service, and £25,000 core costs were allocated to local community anchor organisation the Glenkens & Community Arts Trust, which operates community led services and activities across eight communities in the Glenkens. £8,200 was awarded to the locally renowned natural voice choir Cairn Chorus to commission and deliver ‘Galloway Sang Streams’, a new song cycle with the theme of connecting people to the land. And finally, a three-year award of £8,400 went to Dragon Boats on Loch Ken, which provides social health and wellbeing benefits through its paddling activities on the loch.

Fiona Smith, Glenkens & District Trust Chair, said: 

"We’re absolutely thrilled that the Fund has reached this significant milestone of £1 million paid out to support local projects, large and small. GDT strongly believes in the power of communities being in control of local funding, supported by good governance and community action planning guiding our spending priorities."

Suzy Mercer, Community Funds Manager at Foundation Scotland, said:

“As a grant making charity with expertise in community benefit, Foundation Scotland has been delighted to work in partnership with GDT since the Fund was established in 2019. The combination of our respective strengths has proved a successful recipe for the Fund and the communities involved.”

Since the Fund opened, it has provided a vital source of funds to the Glenkens & District community, supporting projects and organisations across a broad range of spectrums. Grants are available of £500 to £75,000. As the Fund moves into 2024, some changes are afoot with the Fund now being known as the Glenkens & District Community Fund as the number of donors increases. The Fund priorities stay the same.

Congratulations to all the successful applicants who have helped reach this one millionth pound mark.

The deadline for the next round of funding for community organisations is the 18th of March 2024. More information can be found here: Glenkens & District Community Fund | Foundation Scotland



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 18th March 2024.



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

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 Hub announcement by Galloway Glens

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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 .

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 The deadline for the next round of funding for community organisations is the 19th of September.

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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!

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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.

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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.



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.

NEWS: News
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