Support for the elderly and facilities for young people were two of the priorities identified for the £2 million legacy fund, created by the recent sale of the Neilston Community windfarm.
These conclusions emerged from a meeting of 80 residents at St Thomas’s Church Hall, held to discuss the fund’s priorities and how it would work.
“I was hugely encouraged by the number of people at the meeting as well as the range of ideas for the fund’s use”, said Neilston Development Trust chair Pauline Gallacher. “We want to ensure the fund addresses what people see as the long term opportunities and challenges for our community.”
Through group discussions, the meeting identified the following broad priorities:
• Provision of support for elderly and isolated members of the community;
• Facilities for young people and opportunities for them to engage creatively;
• Better use / reuse of properties and community spaces;
• Heritage and greenspace projects;
• Training and employment for young people;
• Workspaces and support for small businesses.
There was also support for income generation initiatives to replenish the fund and for ‘keeping it local’ by spending with local businesses.
The findings from the meeting will form part of the guidance that will be given to the trustees of the new fund when they are appointed.
The new trust will be open to funding requests. However, the meeting heard that it will take about six months for the structure of the fund to be confirmed legally, and a further six months before it is ready to receive applications.
It will be an independent charitable body with its own board, charged with managing the fund sustainably to provide long term benefits for the Neilston area.