Newton Stewart BMX track goes live on JustGiving

Amanda McEwan from the Triple T (Tea, Toast and Talks) group and Nathon Jones, Project Co-ordinator with Newton Stewart Initiative, at the Douglas Park site  � Copyright Stephen Jolly Photography.
Amanda McEwan from the Triple T (Tea, Toast and Talks) group and Nathon Jones, Project Co-ordinator with Newton Stewart Initiative, at the Douglas Park site � Copyright Stephen Jolly Photography.

The community of Newton Stewart moved a step closer this week to creating a regional standard BMX track, the only one of its kind in South West Scotland, by launching a fundraising drive.

Newton Stewart Initiative, who are leading the project, are asking people to donate via the newly live JustGiving page to kick start phase 1 of the ambitious development to create a BMX track, football pitch, car park and footpaths at Douglas Park in the town.

Through existing fundraising efforts, grant support and generous donations from the public NSI have already reached 34 per cent of the target required.

Nathon Jones, Project Co-ordinator with Newton Stewart Initiative, said: “Initial grant support from The Holywood Trust and Robert Barr Trust have given us a fantastic head start on our fundraising efforts.

“We’ve also received outstanding support from local groups and individuals who have been running their own fundraising events in aid of the park development.

“As well as allowing you to make a direct debit/credit card donation to the campaign, JustGiving allows individuals, groups, clubs, organisations and schools to create their own event to raise funds for the project.

“It could be a coffee morning, bingo, quiz night, fun day, concert, sporting activity - whatever you choose to do you’ll be joining over 24 million people on JustGiving who are supporting charity causes and making good things happen.

“In addition to the JustGiving campaign we also have applications submitted to various funding bodies, and continue to seek additional funding opportunities, which, if successful, will bring us even closer to our target.”

It’s free to sign up to JustGiving at www.justgiving.com and once you’ve signed up you simply search for the ‘Douglas Park Development’ campaign and select the ‘Start fundraising’ button.

If you would like further information about the project or if you have any questions about how to sign up to JustGiving please call Newton Stewart Initiative on 01671 401449 or you can e-mail Nathon direct at info@newtonstewartinitiative.net.

Newton Stewart Initiative is a community charity which undertakes project work in Newton Stewart and the surrounding areas. Its core objectives include protecting and conserving the environment, maintaining and providing public amenities, advancing education, healthy living and lifelong learning and providing facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation to improve the conditions of life of the inhabitants in particular young people and unemployed.

At the March meeting of NSI 10 of the 14 member executive committee were present with Apologies from three members.

In the absence of the Chairman the meeting was chaired by David Mitchinson (Vice Chair of the Executive Committee), who welcomed all those in attendance and thanked them for coming.

The February minutes were approved.

Project Co-ordinator Report

The Project Co-ordinator report was produced and discussed and to be circulated to all members.

It was noted that the project co-ordinator has been working with D&G Council on Douglas Park; that funding applications have been submitted for match funding the PCs salary/ extension of his hours/ Douglas Park and the Cycling Club;

Also a funding application has been lodged with Clydesdale Bank; Just Giving has been successfully set up and that the PC has met with the Tea, Toast and Talks Group (TTT) to thank them for their fundraising and to work on how to move forward.

Another highlighted area was the recent damage at NSC, The Secretary/Director is to write to Creetown Initiative reminding them of their duties to report any damage.

It was confirmed that funds from Robertson Trust will be issued to us on 6th May.

An application to the Aspiring Communities Fund – closing date 6th April is to be drafted for the next stage Feasibility Study for the Community Centre.

DTAS (Development Trusts Association Scotland) – Taking membership of DTAS has been recommended by CAM and a similar group to us in Twechar. The application has been made and submitted.

We have the details of the partnership agreement with D&G Council for Douglas Park. This covers running costs; public liability insurance and work with the Cycling Club.

Newton Stewart Centre

Damage: as previously stated DM will be contacting Creetown Initiative.

Hot Desk Hire: Currently £20/hour. We have had no hires at this rate. Discussion was had about lowering the rate. This fee is out of affordability both locally and nationally.

Alternative rates are to be sent to the EC members by email for a decision on how to proceed.

Use of the Centre was strong during February with March promising to be even busy which is great news.

Treasurer’s Report

It was proposed that as NSC’s income is looking healthier maintenance is paid for rather than waiting for volunteers. The money the centre is making should be spent on it. Suggest that PC gets quotes for the gutter work and any other repairs that are required.

Recent fundraising:

Bloodslab £146.68

Darts £130

Swap shop £52 (not a high yield but an excellent learning opportunity for the shop planning team).

Thanks were passed to all who took part in the above events and letters of thanks have been forwarded.

Party Packages – Work is continuing with the purchase of Party Packages for use in the Centre for children’s parties, this is to include music system.

Overall financial position was recorded as strong with almost all of the funds used to refurbish the Centre reclaimed from the income from its hire.

Directors Report

A recent Directors’ meeting was recorded in minute form and the EC discussed the minutes. It was noted that the EC members appreciated the feedback from the meeting.

It is however hoped that most decisions can be handled at the EC.

Operational breakdown document: This document is being worked on by the directors to highlight the roles and responsibilities of the members. It will be able to be used when new members are considering stepping up to EC membership.

The document will be presented to the EC and any sub-committee members at a May meeting, with a chance to and reaffirm NSI objectives.

New Community Centre

A recent meeting took place with Community Asset Management: following the report and Community Centre meeting it was commented that it was good to hear that all involved came away from the meeting with a positive outlook on working with CAM. It was confirmed that they are happy to help where they can but will direct us to others who can if they can’t.

They gave some good advice re: DTAS and missives when we get to that stage. They have seen that all the successful projects are providing some form of non-prescriptive healthcare from anchor tenants.

The Chair has emailed DumGal Council re: Old Community Centre. Looking for confirmation on its availability or otherwise.

It was discussed that given its popularity in the survey NSI would have to have solid justification for not using. It was however noted that the level of community engagement was good especially with users of the old centre.

Twechar Community Centre happy to have NSI visit them and recommended DTAS membership as they would pay for the visit and a hosting fee.

Analysis feedback on the questionnaires. It was noted that it may be worth funding a specialist for further analysis for the next stage of development.

It was further discussed that we have to justify why/ why not for all the sites for the Community Centre.

CAM highlighted that the second stage Feasibility Study and a professional Business plan should be done together and the Business Plan would cost in the region of £10K. This is one of the items that should be covered in the funding application being completed.

Fundraising Committee Report

NSI now have the full license to be able to conduct legal raffles as they have been donated some tremendous prizes and wish to maximise the potential income generation.

Tables –Exec agreed that they need to cover any loss or damage that may occur and that we have a fund to replace or expand as these were bought via fundraising and grant funding.

Concerns were raised around the table and by notification prior to the meeting about charging for use and the high rental costs if all 15 tables were requested. It was confirmed that all community groups would be charged.

Discussion was had about the logistics of managing the rental of the tables.

Lengthy discussion was had regarding the fees. It was finally agreed that the charge would be a £30 deposit and £2 hire cost per table.

The next charity darts event is to be a ladies’ night, on Saturday, April 15, at 4pm in The Galloway Arms. Prizes include Prosecco, wine, Easter Egg. Cost £5 entry. Being held at the Galloway Arms.

Shop Committee Report

A new community shop committee has been set up to look at the implications and possibilities of the NSI running its own community shop.

NSI have met with the accountant and discussed the correct set up and legal and tax implications.

The Executive Committee agreed that after costs 20 per cent of profits will be ring fenced for community donations and projects.

The unique selling point of the shop to be: the money raised stays in NSI’s operating area (Newton Stewart and Minnigaff) and that donations will go to local groups.

Any Other Business

It was recognised that Andrew Robbins had resigned from the fundraising committee. The members of that sub-committee wished to thank him for his time and efforts with the various events that have been held.

Highlighted that there is an increasing need for groups within the town to work together. Suggested that NSI should possibly be looking at holding equipment for the community. It was countered with the events group that is under consideration for setting up may be the ones to take the lead on this.

Sparling Bridge: CVCC held a public consultation vote: option A (existing site) or option B (site further down river).

Public voted option B.

As there was no other business, the chairman closed the meeting.