Hunt is on for new community centre

Newton Stewart Community Centre. GG 0602022 13
Newton Stewart Community Centre. GG 0602022 13

The October meeting of the Newton Stewart Initiative was held in Creebridge House Hotel on the 12th of October and was well attended by committee members and guests.

Chair, Susan McKie welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Linda Woodfield and Debbie Leslie as guests who have both put their names forward for committee membership. After a short introduction by both guests the meeting continued with reports from office holders.

Laura Hunter, the Initiative secretary reported on correspondence from the Creetown Initiative, who run Newton Stewart Youth Group,that more and more young people were attending the group. The club now has 45 junior members and 18 senior members.The junior club takes place on Monday nights and the seniors Wednesday nights. Creetown Initiative are currently looking for a male volunteer to help with the seniors club which runs from 7pm till 8.30pm on Wednesday nights. If you are interested in helping out and have good communication skills, are a good listener and, although not essential, have some experience in working with the 13 to 16 age group and are over 18 please get in touch by calling the Creetown Initiative on 01671820654.

Andrew Robbins, treasurer, reported that the funds from the old community centre management committee had now been lodged with the NSI bank account.

This was welcome news as it now means the Initiative can move forward with the largest project likely to be tackled by NSI, finding a suitable site or building and beginning the hunt for funding to provide Newton Stewart with a fit for purpose community centre.

Grant funding was now in place from The Robert Barr Trust for the Douglas Park project and the Initiative are waiting on the funding from the Holywood Trust which is earmarked for the refurbishment of The Hut, now to be known as The Newton Stewart Centre coming through.

It was also noted that donations had been received from The Newton Stewart Rotary Club and also Newton Stewart Round Table.

Work has now started on the refurbishment of the Initiative owned building known as The Hut. This building will be used to house the Newton Stewart Youth Club as well as the Newton Stewart Initiative office. It will also be available to local groups if required for daytime or evening lets. If you or your group would like more information on the building and what we can offer please contact the Initiative direct.

The refurbishment should take around 6 weeks or so and volunteers are required to help out with some of the work. If you can offer some time and practical experience it would be much appreciated.

We are also on the look out for a decent second hand set of kitchen units, if anybody knows anyone getting a new kitchen fitted please let us know at . We can collect if required.

If you have anything you think may be of use during the renovation or set up of the building please let us know.

The Douglas Park project is at the planning and technical specification and management stage with some major funding already in place. The Initiative are currently working to complete the funding package and get the project started. Once again, if anyone has any expertise in this field and can help in any way to reduce costs we would be glad to hear from them.

Local joiner Joey Marshall has been selected to make the two town notice boards. When complete one of the notice boards will be fixed to the Old Town Hall building at the clock with the second being fixed to the wall of the public toilets at the town centre car park. These boards will be available to all organisations to advertise their events. It is hoped that the notice boards will be in place by mid November.

The committee discussed the possibility of erecting a ‘banner bar’ somewhere around the town centre car park to allow groups to put up banners to advertise their events rather than using railings around the town.

Ben Askew of Forest Enterprise discussed the possibility of Forest Enterprise working with NSI on this as they were looking at replacing the Forest Enterprise information board at some point anyway. Ben will take this idea forward and report back at the next meeting.

Newton Stewart Initiative are currently advertising the post of Project Worker with a view to having someone in place before the end of the year.

This will be a part time post, initially 28 hours per week, and the successful applicant will be working from the Newton Stewart Centre office once it is completed.

Anyone interested in the post, who has experience working in community based projects, although this is not essential, should contact the secretary at for an application form.

This is an exciting step forward for NSI, one which will hopefully encourage people to become involved at committee level without the fear of becoming overloaded with work when they head home.

The first Newton Stewart Winter Fayre will take place on Saturday 21st of November in the McMillan Hall and Dashwood Square. Already 15 stalls have signed up with another six showing interest.

There will also be a Santa’s Grotto and children’s festive readings by Jenny Burns.

The Rotary Club of Newton Stewart will be doing teas and coffees as well as other refreshments. Look out for advertising posters around town for a full list of entertainment on the day.

The Newton Stewart Initiative AGM will take place in the Creebridge House Hotel on the 9th of November 7 for 7.30 pm. Everyone is free to attend the meeting at which there will be a number of post changes as well as new executive committee members to be elected. Anyone interested in joining the committee should intimate their interest to secretary Laura Hunter via the Initiative email address.

There will be a full report on the work of the Initiative over the past year and also a brief outline of the plans for 2016. It is hoped that a large number of members will attend the AGM.

A member of the Initiative committee had been approached to ask if NSI could help with the Pageant in 2016. After some discussion it was agreed that the executive committee would meet with any future Pageant committee to discuss ideas and assist if possible.

It was clear from the discussion that NSI could not step in and take over the running of the Pageant, perhaps though, through its membership, it could pull in various other groups to help keep some sort of event, if not a Galloway Pageant on the callender for 2016 or 2017.