Funding supports Newtongrange youth

Members of the Smile for Shellie campaign attended the recent Coalfields Community Futures Fun Day in Newtongrange.
Members of the Smile for Shellie campaign attended the recent Coalfields Community Futures Fun Day in Newtongrange.

The future looks bright for Newtongrange as a host of new projects and priorities for the area emerged from the recent Coalfields Community Futures Fun Day in the Parish Church Hall.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust supported the local Steering Group, who organised the Fun Day, to report back on the findings of their local household survey, and gave the 300 people who attended the event the opportunity to vote for local projects.

The CRT also put up a £25,000 Participatory Budget to help get key projects off the ground.

One of the organisations bidding for a share of the funding is Smile for Shellie which was set up after the death of 16-year-old local girl Shellie Callaghan.

They are looking for funding for a project to divert young people from antisocial or risk taking behavior by organising challenging training courses and other activities.

Newbattle Community Nursery is looking for funding to help children with additional support needs. The group wants to build a darkened hide with changing sensory lights, a bubble machine and a glass floor to help youngsters who find it hard to communicate.

Newtongrange Silver Band applied for support for new equipment and uniforms, the 21st Midlothian Scout Group want to make improvements to their Scout Hall, Newtongrange Star Football Social Club is looking to fund new chairs, while the Air Training Corps want equipment for Duke of Edinburgh training expeditions and the Gala Committee want two-way radios to improve safety at local events.

The community action priorities, which topped the local voting, included more activities for young people, further development of the village centre as the heart of the community and a war on dog fouling.

Councillor Catherine Johnstone, leader of Midlothian Council said: “The Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the local Steering Group did a fantastic job of organising this Family Fun Day which identified key priorities for the area, and showcased some of the initiatives local groups have proposed to tackle local issues.

“It was really enjoyable occasion which demonstrated how effective local communities can be in setting their own priorities.”

Councillor Bryan Pottinger, a member of the Steering Group, added: “Newtongrange was once the biggest mining village in Scotland and has that very strong community spirit that is the legacy of mining communities.

“I was really impressed that there was something for all age groups and that local organisations came up with such varied and exciting projects.”

Nicky Wilson, Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “Newtongrange proved once again that local people are the best judges of what their area needs, and how to meet that need.

“The local Steering Group will take the feedback from this meeting into account when they draw up their Five-Year Community Action Plan for the area.

“I wish them every success.”