Launch of the Newtongrange Flyer
Last month saw launch of The Newtongrange Flyer. The NCC has supported, coordinated and funded a number of resilience activities during the CoViD-19 pandemic and the first issue of the new newsletter, although originally designed to increase the reach and relevance of the community council, was repurposed to showcase the positive response in our community to the pandemic.
We had three goals with this first issue:
- Reach and reassure isolated people and share how to support, or get support from, the community council to resolve local issues;
- Celebrate the coming together of key community groups, businesses and individuals to form the Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers;
- Support our community’s positivity and capacity to manage during the restrictions, and see them through!
We used a simple formula of stories written by and for Newtongrange organisations during the pandemic and combined this with heritage articles, upcoming events and how to get in touch.
Another goal emerged also: to build support for starting a Newtongrange Development Trust. While the NCC is determined that the Newtongrange Resilience Volunteer operation will be embedded, for whatever we face ahead together, we also need a organisation capable of major fundraising, organisational support and community asset management powers to give us the opportunity to develop our village through diluted local government services, a changing environment and rapid community growth. (If you haven’t already, please read about this and lend your support for establishment)
We are seeking funding to keep the Newtongrange Flyer going. We think it will:
- improve inclusivity for isolated individuals;
- improve trust in and accountability of stretched statutory services and developments;
- continue to support local resilience volunteers;
- invite new membership to the community council and increase our representation;
- highlight new ways to engage with the NCC and its present campaigns on community safety, village development and community activities.
- sharing news of community groups, heritage and activities;
- sharing news of community resilience operations;
- directing residents to this website;
- inviting to new NCC email subscription model and social media;
- enabling contribution to meeting agendas and consultations, and;
- inviting subscription to a traditional mailing list for isolated or vulnerable villagers who do not use the internet.
The first issue of the “Newtongrange Flyer,” published recently on October 30, has been well received. So far this is unsolicited feedback from the community and support from local business, but we are monitoring engagement with a longer campaign to increase community council membership. Because of CoViD, we targeted delivery to areas where residents may be having a tougher time through age and isolation, but as widely as we could e.g. Dean Park, Dean Park Court, Dean Park Place, St Anne’s, Lothian Terrace, St. David’s, Station Road, Main Street, Square, top of 2nd Street up from square, 3rd Street, 6-10th Street, Park Road, Newtongrange Library along with a number of shops (you can still get a copy at the Co-op at the time of writing!). We are very confident we are reaching people who would not normally engage with the Community Council, or be aware of other groups and activities in the village, but also those most affected by the pandemic. The final production had more pages than envisaged, in high contrast larger point type for accessibility, but also content produced by local people and included: a heritage feature, a round-up of activities by the NCC, encouragement to maintain “FACTS” CoViD guidance, changes to Remembrance Day proceedings, digital and most importantly non-digital methods to engage with NCC. 5 local groups were involved directly in production and distribution: NCC, NC1, NRV, Village Voices, Newbattle Parish Church, We envisage a readership, at 2.3 people per household, of 2,400 people for this first edition.
We were able to take the opportunity to use the Newsletter to promote the activity of the Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers and Newtongrange Community 1st during the pandemic. This raised the profile of our outdoor CoViD compliant exchange for books, toys and surplus food, “The Pool,” and gave a platform for Village Voices, one of many groups that have been unable to meet in the library. We are now driving support for setting up a Newtongrange Development Trust.
We are commencing a wider campaign around maintaining vigilance with CoViD-19 and the newsletter is the first step in this, supporting continued community acceptance/compliance with guidance.
Engagement with the production process is also worth mentioning, with a team of volunteers, including many Community Council members, eager to walk the village and deliver, engaging people safely in the process. These opportunities improve well-being for the volunteers.
Finally, the publication is a validation and support for the work of the 40 plus active volunteers and many have taken pride in having their work acknowledged. We will commence on a Spring issue in the new year and under the project we are hoping to work with Midlothian Older People’s Assembly (MOPA) to produce winter safety guidance for older people.