The squeak of young trainers running at full speed across a community hall floor and older people carefully navigating their cups of hot coffee to their table without spilling a drop. The scene was set for what was a very mixed group of young and older residents from the surrounding villages. Each giving up their precious Sunday afternoon for the PB event in Hurlford.
The event was organised by the East Ayrshire Tenants & Residents Federation (EATRF) who were using the Scottish Government's Community Choices fund to give away £28,000 to community led projects and ideas for Hurlford, Crookedholm and Galston.
As we have come to expect, the PB event was inspiring and brought to light the sheer volume of activity that is going on every week in our rural villages. I learned lots about Brass Bands and it was particularly interesting to hear that Newmilns and Galston Brass Band are highly regarded and competitive not just in Scotland but also in the UK. Like many of the groups presenting on the day the band is run by dedicated volunteers and offers free tuition, uniforms, instruments and travel to young people and adults in the surrounding areas. They would normally maintain the band through funding events, Gala days etc but today was an opportunity for the community to show how much they valued the band by supporting them to purchase banners for music stands and contributing to the cost of outer jackets for outdoor events. Commenting on the PB process Claire Kimm and Phillippa MacDougal said: ‘It’s nice to see so many groups come along, it was very well organised. It’s nice to meet new people as well, we’ve already made links with another group here today which will benefit both groups….The voting process was really straightforward and transparent.’
Participants were impressed by the paper voting system and found it to be a very fair and transparent. Each participant, aged 12 and above, were given the opportunity to vote on 25 projects including their own. Commenting on the process Louise Crichton from 1st Hurlford Girl Guides said, 'The whole process was very smooth, I thought it was good that everybody had to vote on every project. It meant that those in big projects couldn't come in, vote and just leave. It involved finding out about new projects in the community and giving us some ideas and making new connections.'
It was remarkable to see that the projects which were funded were evenly divided between young peoples ideas, like 2nd Hurlford Brownies desire to visit the Pandas in Edinburgh Zoo to the Galston Friendship Club which was looking for a small sum of money to provide respite to those with any form of dementia and their carers. The split between projects for older and younger residents was indeed the theme for the day with the exception of the River Irvine Angling Improvement Association who were successful in getting funding for a 2 year research project into the numbers and types of fish in the River Irvine. I guess that will benefit both younger and older residents.
East Ayrshire Tenants & Residents Federation (EATRF) have a number of other events coming up, including:
- Kilmarnock North - St John Church - 25 March 2017
By the end of the March 2017, EATRF will have given away £85,000 in new funding to local community groups both young and old.