A Development Trust for Newtongrange
Is it time for a Development Trust for Newtongrange?
Since first proposed in 2012 by then Cllr Owen Thompson (now MP) when closures were a threat, a Development Trust for Newtongrange has been something the Community Council has looked to support. Now, through strengthening community relationships in this pandemic, a trust is a near reality with a groundswell of community interest fostered by coordinators of the Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers.
For managing issues like the threat to community assets (loss of our pool weighing heavily on our hearts, demolished while the community council was rebuilding from near collapse itself) a Development Trust is an organisational structure that can take on ownership and management of property on behalf of our community – for us, on behalf of us – giving us a powerful tool to deploy in times of severe dilution of local government capacity. More than just arresting decline, a well structured development trust can truly listen to its community and support existing local organisations or deliver projects where there is otherwise no capacity. Everyone in Newtongrange would agree we have been heavily consulted about what the community wants, take the Masterplans and the great work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust to help us form a Community Action Plan, but the missing link is a community controlled organisation to really do the work on our behalf.
It is with this in mind, and with two years to go in our five year Action Plan, the opportunity has arisen from the spectre of this CoViD pandemic. The NRV, created to respond to the pandemic, have amongst their team some determined individuals you may have seen regularly at “The Pool.” Working symbolically from the very rubble of our destroyed pool, the social Socially-Distanced exchange of book, toys, surplus food, entertainment and, of course, a good blether these volunteers have created the opportunity to tap community spirit and channel it into the formation of a trust.
A Development Trust can have humble beginnings, and it should!
Also, when the Community Council began thinking about resilience, it was the next Beast from the East and other weather extremes a changing climate might make more prevalent that we were thinking of. A shed for some snow clearing tools, waders, hi vis jackets and a phone list for some eager volunteers was what we had in mind. We now have to add increased potential for future pandemics, our own pandemic response was only possible with an amazing collaboration between Newtongrange Community 1st, local businesses, Midlothian Council amongst others and so many willing village volunteers. This was draining for all involved, so a bigger “war chest” in the form of a community focussed and independently funded organisation makes sense.
Yes, its another survey but this one is your mandate for a tool to begin shaping our own prosperity
We know that grass roots volunteer operations increase our wellbeing and, so far, results from the survey to support the birth of a Development Trust for Newtongrange, we see a range of ideas our community would like that are as humble as they are diverse. These will be used in conjunction with the Community Action Plan to shape the activity of the new organisation. The Survey closes Nov 30, please give your views and be part of the this great opportunity that could really help deliver the support we need to make our vision happen, and ultimately the prosperity our village.
To reach the steering group for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find our more about how Development Trusts work and what they can do by visiting the Development Trusts Association Scotland, lots of fantastic case studies.