AGM Report – 10th Feb 2021

There have been some changes of staff this year with Nick Ward leaving at the end of September, and Katrina Dick taking over late Aug to ensure a good handover.

The Initiative is currently working on some really exiting projects both old and new. Below is a summary on the projects.

See foot of the page for link to Accounts Information

Douglas Park Phase 2

Phase two of the Douglas Park project was moving on well until March 2020 with a potential build date for the play park set when the initiative was forced to scale down its business activities.

Once we started easing out of lockdown the project was restarted with even greater ambitions as it was decided to merge Phase two and Phase three of the Douglas Park project to ensure a greater chance of obtaining funding from external funders.

Phase three was planned for later once the play park had been completed and consisted of installing a Changing Places toilet plus a unisex toilet as well as tarmacking the car park to make it more wheelchair accessible. This will not be done together.

We are now at a phase where we have a hopeful time of commencement for late Aug for the Changing Places toilet, what remains is getting external funding from various organisation to match the funding already ring fenced for the project by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

Penninghame Centre Community Transfer Project

Due to a change of Project workers and lockdown restrictions the Penninghame Centre project was put on hold to focus the limited time on more pressing matters.

After discussions, scoping and research carried out, the Initiative are now looking to try and move on with the intention of taking over the Penninghame Centre from Dumfries & Galloway Council to use as a Community Centre for the whole of Newton Stewart and beyond.

The Initiative have kindly been offered a grant from the Kilgallioch Wider Fund to be able to get help with creating a business plan which will be essential for moving on to the second stage of the Community Asset Transfer.

Upon scoping it has become apparent that some Council owned Industrial Buildings in Minnigaff were also on the list of Council assets available through the Community Asset Transfer scheme.

As it is important to the Initiative to be able to run the Penninghame Centre on an independent basis it made sense to also take over the industrial units which will provide a steady income for the Initiative through renting them out to local businesses.

We are currently at a stage where we are hoping to commence on two business plans which although separate to highlight their different qualities and strengths will incorporate the two Assets binding function in a bid to enable the Initiative to carry out the work of regenerating the community through spending funds obtained by renting out the Minnigaff Industrial Units on a much needed Community Centre which will provide a meeting point and group space for anyone in the community.

Newton Stewart Centre

The centre was keeping itself running well before having to close due to the first lockdown in March.

The centre remained closed until middle of September when we were approached by a local dance group looking for somewhere to dance twice a week. We have also had the centre open to some other groups.

Contamination prevention was a main concern and aim for the NSI once the centre reopened which resulted in it being open to only one group per day and with extra cleaning put in on days after groups had used the centre.

We also applied for some grant funding for the extra cleaning costs, which enabled us to keep the costs for people using the centre down.

The Centre has since January been closed due to another lockdown. We are keeping our eyes on the restriction guidance to enable us to open up once it is considered safe to do so.

Website/PR

Good publicity is important for any organisation. It became apparent to the Initiative that the NSI website needed a revamp to ensure it showcased what the NSI has done, is doing and is going to do.

The idea of consecutively revamping the defunct ‘official’ Newton Stewart page came up in discussion too. Funding has since been granted by the Scotland Loves Local Fund to carry out this work which will provide an official website for the town of Newton Stewart.

The work on the websites is currently ongoing. This grant also covers costs for business cards for the initiative and the ‘official’ Newton Stewart site. The Initiative have also got several Facebook pages open for the centre, the organisation itself as well as fundraising and project based pages. We are lucky to have a keen volunteer who helps us with this.

Youth work

The Initiative were given grant funding from the Holywood Trust in relation to starting up a youth club at the Newton Stewart Centre which was going quite well. Unfortunately the youth club had to be discontinued in March when the pandemic hit, when restrictions started to lift it became apparent that it was not viable to continue with the youth work in its present form inside due to the need for adequate spacing and ventilation.

After discussions with the Holywood Trust and D&G Youth Team it became apparent that any future youth work should be held outside as much as possible.

The idea of doing an outdoors practical/environmental group was discussed and consequently funding was granted from the Holywood Trust for three months of doing outdoor work with young people in partnership with D & G Council youth team.

The project was due to start at the start of March 2021, although due to the current restrictions it is possible that this could be postponed.

Charity Shop

The NSI Charity shop was thriving before the pandemic hit with a good intake of goods to sell and a good customer base, as well as very dedicated and skilled volunteers.

The shop had to close during the first lockdown in March although opened up in September on a restricted timetable once it was felt it was safe to do so. The Charity shop managed to give out grants to the community, which is part of the remit this year too. In November ten local organisations, individuals & groups were given grants for their projects which ranged from carrying out habitat work, to providing opportunities to young people, to providing equipment to enable disadvantaged people.

The Charity shop has been closed since the start of January but once restrictions ease we are aiming to be back in the shop.

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NSI Community Shop is now Open

Community ShopNewton Stewart Initiative has been working away quietly in the background for many months with Dumfries and Galloway Council to secure a long term “community shop” for the town. We are delighted to confirm that having navigated and solved numerous obstacles to getting the shop started, our doors are now open and everyone is very welcome. The shop is situated within the building that was the former Tourist Information Office at Dashwood Square car park. The official opening ceremony of the shop will take place on Saturday September 9th with local MSP Finlay Carson doing the honours as part of the “Day of the Region event.” The shop will be open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm.

Your community shop will be selling unwanted donated new and pre-loved good quality clothes and items from a wide range. The proceeds will go back into the Newton Stewart and Minnigaff community, in the form of funding local projects and events.  Every item donated and every item bought will help the local community directly. We aim to keep everyone fully up to date with amounts raised, what we have helped to fund, where, when and how.

As the shop is situated within the former Tourist Information Office, which closed several years ago, as a courtesy service to visitors we will also do our very best to offer local information and generally try to tell visitors why they should stay and spend time in Newton Stewart and Minnigaff. A selection of maps and flyers will be available to visitors.

A long term plan in the community shop is also to present an area (space permitting) for local crafters and artists to display their work to visitors with a percentage of any sales also going to fund local community projects and events.

It is good to see what was a long term empty closed building now re-opened as a community shop with the aim of helping our town and community to the best of our ability, in both funds raised and as a point of contact. Please come along and support this new NSI project. The shop also has it’s own Facebook page which is well worth checking for updates and promotions.

Facebook:- Just follow the link and “like” page to follow for all the updates and Community Shop News.

 

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Newton Stewart Initiative selected as local Sainsbury’s charity

Newton Stewart Initiative are most grateful to our local Sainsbury’s store, and of course their customers, for selecting us as their local charity for 2017/18. This selection adds to the prestige of NSI and is a deeply appreciated vote of confidence from the local community, with NSI being one of several worthy charities to choose from.  We have already been able to host a stand inside the entrance presenting a demonstration of what NSI is doing at the moment, with the likes of The Newton Stewart Centre, the new community shop launch and also convey physical plans for future projects such as the proposed BMX track at Douglas Park to name but one. We were delighted to sign up many new members over the two days. Sainsbury’s also kindly hosted a car boot sale for us last month and there are many more events upcoming. Please keep an eye out for posters in Sainsbury’s for our upcoming events. Thank you to everyone who kindly voted for us.

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New Project Coordinator Appointed

David Mitchison

Photo: Galloway Gazette

Newton Stewart Initiative is pleased to confirm the appointment of Mr David Mitchinson as the new project coordinator.

Newcastle born Dave has been a member of NSI for a while, also serving as a director, and now brings a wide skills range to the role of project coordinator.

Mr Mitchinson has been a local resident since 2014 having holidayed here since 2006 and has a passion for the community and area.

 

Full details from the recent feature in The Galloway Gazette

Newton Stewart Initiative have recently appointed a new project coordinator who says his “passion” for the town can drive the group’s major plans forward.

David Mitchison’s appointment comes at a crucial time for the Initiative as they focus on opening a new community shop, secure funding for a BMX track at Douglas Park and identify a suitable site for a new community centre. Fifty-three-year-old Newcastle-born Mr Mitchinson has been involved with the NSI for some time as a director, having moved permanently to the town in 2014, after having a holiday home here since 2006.

He said: “The aim of the initiative is basically the regeneration of the town. We are duty bound to develop a couple of projects in the town – the Douglas Park BMX track and a new community centre – the original one was thriving when it closed. “We have already got the Newton Stewart Centre up and running and it is more than breaking even and now we are well on the way to opening a community shop in the old tourist information building in Dashwood Square where every £1 spent will stay in Newton Stewart and Minnigaff. It will be a charity shop with local crafts and have a tourist information section as many people still assume that is where it is! We would hope to open on September 1st.”

The Initiative has had a great boost recently when they became Sainsbury’s charity of the year. David continued: “I am passionate about Newton Stewart and Minnigaff and it probably helps that I’m an outsider! I want to make things happen and I have a lot of experience. We can change people attitudes by giving them something tangible. We have already put on four craft fairs and all the proceeds go to our projects.

Finding funding is key and we are very grateful for the support we have already received from the Cree Valley Community Council. “Our two longer term projects are the Douglas Park which we are looking to re-develop and build a BMX track, car parking, fencing, football pitch and play equipment, our other project is to provide the town with a much needed community centre. The original centre was closed due to austerity measures and we are well underway with feasibility studies and consultations.

The people of Newton and Minnigaff are, to me, passionate, friendly and hopeful for the future, and we are confident our projects and aims will be achieved and we will all see the town prosper.” NSI chairman David Inglis added: “NSI are pleased to have Dave on board and we are looking forward to working with him on the development of our major projects.”

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Calendar Competition

Calling all photographers, budding photographers and owners of phones with cameras.
The Newton Stewart Initiative are launching their first Photography Competition, free to enter, and the prize is to be your photograph on the cover of our 2018 calendar and to be used on the month of your choice inside the calendar.
The rules are simple, send us a photo or photos’ to info@newtonstewartinitiative.net by
1st September 2017.
All photos will be judged by the NSI Fundraising team and the overall winner and winners notified, the overall winner will be asked what Month of the 2018 calendar they would like their photo to be used on. All other winningphotos will be allocated a given month in the calendar.
All photos must be of of Newton Stewart or Minnigaff, or from Newton Stewart or Minnigaff. This can include events, activities etc that take place in Newton/Minnigaff and is not limited solely to ‘Views Of’ type photographs.
The photographs will be collated into a Calendar and printed at cost to the NSI and then sold in order to raise funds for our ongoing project work.
Dig out your portfolios, check your memory sticks and have a look on your saved folders as this is a chance to publicise your work free of charge and have it distributed in over 250 calendars that are to be sold at our Winterfayre in November.
No effort required just get your photos in to us as soon as you can.
All funds to go towards our upkeep of the Newton Stewart Centre
Good Luck
NSI Fundraising Team

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NEW FOR 2017 Newton Stewart Centre the perfect venue for children’s parties

Friday July 14th 5.30pm to 7.30pm and Saturday July 15th 10am to 12 noon.

Newton Stewart Initiative are delighted to present two free sessions to let you see how The Newton Stewart Centre can be the perfect venue for children’s parties. If you are thinking about organising a children’s party or similar event now is an ideal time to come along and see all that we can offer as a package. There will also be local children’s entertainers, balloon modellers, cake makers and face painters etc in attendance at both sessions who will be delighted to discuss with you what they can offer, prices, free dates and more.

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Newton Stewart Centre

After months of work by local builders, plumbers & electricians, along with donations from across the county, the old ‘Hut’ premises have been completely renovated and now ready once again for all groups and businesses to use.

We initially opened the doors to welcome our local Riverside Care Group who’s own premises were devastated by December’s flooding. Riverside Care and now back ‘home’ and so we are ready to welcome all groups and businesses who need to have somewhere in Newton Stewart for an hour or more to hold their own events.

We’re delighted that the Newton Stewart Youth Club have once again returned to use the premises on Monday & Wednesday evenings.  And we have also secured 8 other groups who will be using the Centre over the coming months. So, if you have an event in the town, but don’t have a venue yet, then please get in touch and we’ll be delighted to show you around.

We are located opposite The Library on Church Street here in Newton Stewart and the Centre is set up to take no more than 50 people with two main rooms to hold your event, plus there is a small kitchen area for you to make teas/coffees. We have also installed a disabled toilet along with appropriate ramping into the building and level flooring throughout.

External security lighting will guide you in and out of the Centre should your booking be an evening event.

So, please get in touch and come and have a look around.  If you already know the Centre and want to make a booking, then you can do that in one of two ways. You can email us or private message us on Facebook.

Newton Stewart Centre  –   Charge Out Rates:

Non-constituted Community Groups £6.00/hr or part thereof
Constituted Groups and Charities £8.00/hr or part thereof
All other Businesses £12.00/hr or part thereof
Children’s Party Packs – 2 hrs worth of party
time + we’ll give you ½ hr for set up & tidy
£25.00/2 hrs
Office Printing & Copying A4 10p/sheet
A3 £1.00/sheet
Cancellations – less than 24 hrs notice 100% charge
You can also review our available dates & times on our on-line calendar: http://bookings.newtonstewartinitiative.net
All enquiries should be directed to our email account newtonstewartinitiative@gmail.com
or, via private message on our Facebook page
www.facebook.com/Newton-Stewart-Initiative
 


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NSI AGM – 9th November

The first AGM of Newton Stewart Initiative is on Monday 9th November, at 7.30pm,  in Creebridge House Hotel.

The AGM is a chance for the Executive Committee to update all members on the work we have been carrying out over the last year. We also aim to fill the vacancies that have arisen on the Executive Committee, and to approve the adoption of extra clauses to the constitution.
All members are invited to attend.

Enquiries to newtonstewartinitiative@gmail.com

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The Hut

The Hut

It is hoped that The Hut can be used as a temporary home for Youth Work and others until there is a more permanent solution

  • Awaiting a decision on a funding bid that will bring the building up to a standard for use
  • Community Pay Back scheme are assisting in tidying up the grounds as well as carrying out decorative works on the interior
  • Local businesses have provided quotes for the work needed to bring the building to useable standard.

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Progress at Douglas park

Development of Douglas Park

  • Topography Report Complete
  • Adoption agreement received from Council
  • Planning Permission sought
  • 2 Funding Bids completed
  • Legacy 2014
  • Holywood Trust
  • Planning permission will last for 2 years if given

 

 

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