A number of organisations existed in Kirkcudbright, including the Kirkcudbright Community Trust, Kirkcudbright Forum, Kirkcudbright 2000, Kirkcudbright Summer Festivities and Kirkcudbright Youth Drop-in, and it was recognised that if we could reduce the number of groups, amalgamating some of them to create one strong group, the community would be better served and the new group would be more effective and more efficient.
In 2015 Kirkcudbright Development Trust (KDT), a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) was formed to act as a vehicle to bring the community together to create an organisation that has the strength and the capacity to deliver major projects. As a result, Kirkcudbright Community Trust and Kirkcudbright Youth Drop-in have amalgamated with the new Kirkcudbright Development Trust and it is envisaged that the other groups will also amalgamate with KDT in the future. In this way, the combined skills and strengths within the new Development Trust will increase capacity, enhance the ability to obtain funds for future development within the town, reduce costs and avoid duplication.
The newly formed Kirkcudbright Development Trust represents and supports a wide range of community groups, helping to bring people together, creating a stronger community body that shares resources and which has a stronger voice. The Trust also engages the support of the Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS), which offers a wide range of support services. Kirkcudbright Development Trust was awarded charitable status as a SCIO late 2015 and took over all of the former Community Trusts assets and projects at that point.
In 2012 a number of buildings became available in Kirkcudbright, which could be put to use, or better use, for the benefit of the community. These included The Town Hall, St Cuthbert’s Church and former Johnston School. The former Kirkcudbright Community Trust was asked by Dumfries and Galloway Council to produce a Charter for the future use of these community assets in Kirkcudbright, in a way that positively addresses identified community needs. This work is now being led by “Kirkcudbright Development Trust”
To begin with the old Community Trust conducted an initial set of 24 interviews which were undertaken with a wide range of people in the town, which allowed for a structured questionnaire to be produced. Six community needs were identified from the initial interviews and the following questionnaire asked respondents to rank the list of community needs in order of importance. The questionnaire also provided space for additional comments to be added, including any other community needs prevalent in the town. There was also a section asking for additional category information, including gender, age, group and postcode, to allow analysis of the distribution and diversity of respondents.
There were 434 responses, with the needs of the community ranked in the following order if importance:
- Jobs for local people
- Affordable accommodation for local people
- Small business premises where new businesses can be formed
- Facilities for people, young and old, to meet and take part in activities
- Tourists to support the local economy
- Adult education and training facilities
The results from this survey highlighted the importance of jobs and business premises for the community of Kirkcudbright, and further surveys and consultations have taken place since; some focusing on one of the individual buildings in question and others more general. The inter-connection is that a specific use or uses is established for each of the buildings, which meet the needs of the community, and that services are not duplicated.