Newton Stewart Inititiative

NSI Projects


Douglas Park

Douglas Park has been an ongoing project. From the installation of new play equipment to a new BMX track and new benches being built. The park has been transformed thanks to funding from D&G Council, Holywood Trust and the Hugh Fraser Foundation.

The next stage is the building of the Changing Places toilet in the car park which we are hoping to begin in Spring 2024.

Vibe 75

Vibe 75 was the old Cinnamon café on the high street. In early 2023 NSI signed a 5-year lease with the owners, with the aim being to purchase the building. We have redecorated the downstairs at our own expense and have been using it as an additional space to the centre for activities such as guy making with young people, pop up markets, Halloween discos and bingo nights. We are currently in the process of creating a business plan that will go into more detail. Our main objectives are to utilise the downstairs as a community hub space and the upstairs will be for youthwork in partnership with Youthwork DG. We are currently applying for funding to cover the initial costs of equipment and hiring out the space to local groups and organisations.

Our aim over the next couple of years is to progress the development of Vibe 75 for predominantly Youth Work but also general community use. Funding applications required to be completed and submitted for the initial feasibility study, surveys and business case required. Discussions on going with funders and interest from Holywood Trust

The Grapes Hotel

In 2020 we did a community consultation on this building as it had been highlighted by residents that it was an eyesore on the high street and derelict. We conducted a Housing Needs Demand Analysis with SOSCH and were hoping to buy the property at auction. Unfortunately, as a charity, we were unable to do so. Fast forward to 2023 and we are currently in negotiations with the owner to buy the Grapes Hotel, submitted a Stage one application to SLF, AHF and the RLF to acquire funding for feasibility studies, surveys and architectural designs to be drawn up. 2024 will see us applying for more funding to be able to house our community shop into the ground floor, so they will have bigger premises and be able to sell a wider variety of products to the local community. We are working with SOSCH to create affordable housing upstairs, which is something that Newton Stewart needs, and the Local Place Plan has identified. All being well, building works will start in 2024 to turn this into a beautiful building once more.

Over the next couple of years we aim to progress the initial phase of the Grapes Hotel refurbishment to deliver a new community shop and affordable town centre accommodation on the upper floors. Initial funding is in place for this for the feasibility study, design and business plan. Further funding for phase two is required. Discussions are ongoing with funders at present


Youth work is something which has really come to the fore this year. With funding from the Holywood Trust, we were able to employ three youth workers in March 2023. This was in response to a higher than usual level of anti-social behaviour in the town and recognising a need for more activities for young people. Our relationship with Youthworks DG has strengthened this year and together we were able to put on Amazing Summer events including an outdoor cinema, sports day and picnic fun day for families, all funded by D&G Council. We have continued to build on this partnership and organised transport to Youthbeatz in Dumfries and a trip to Braehead for 39 young people. Between April and October our youth workers were seeing up to 80 young people per week doing detached work and going out to where young people were. Alongside this we have been running a weekly drop in at the centre where young people can have a warm, safe, space, food and drink as well as learning skills and socialising with their peers.

Our aim over the next couple of years is to continue to develop the Youth work partnership with D&G Council, some funding applied for along with Laura Kiltie and her team

Local Place Plan

The Local Place Plan consultations were started in February 2023. This document is to be submitted to the local council in 2024. It brings together the resident’s voices on what they would like to see in the town. Six main themes were identified through in person and online surveys. They included safety, streets and spaces, work and local economy, public transport, moving around and play and recreation. From these six themes we have identified six projects. The next stage in the Local Place Plan is to create a vision for our town through listening and visioning sessions which will be held in person and online throughout November and December 2023.

Our aim is to complete and submit the Local Place Plan for the town, whilst distributing the plan to all residents.