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Community Land Scotland

Newton Stewart Initiative

Newton Stewart Centre Church Street Newton Stewart DG8 6ER

Newton Stewart Initiative is a community organisation with charitable status, reformed in February 2014 to regenerate our town, involving as many people and groups as possible. NSI aims to develop community facilities, support community led initiatives, businesses and regeneration projects, youth, arts and sports projects and any other project that benefits the community living and working in and around Newton Stewart.

Newton Stewart, ‘Gateway to the Galloway Hills’, is a small market town situated on the banks of the River Cree, in the heart of Galloway. Like many rural communities in recent years, it has suffered from economic decline; job losses; cuts to funding for facilities & services; and a perceived lack of social initiative & investment. NSI are working to bring our small town back to being a wonderful community to live in and showcase the many opportunities available for improvement and revitalisation, both in the beautiful landscape that surrounds us, as well as the inspiring community spirit.

It is our vision that NSI will bring together the aspirations, enthusiasm, skills and experience of the people of Newton Stewart and Minnigaff to create the vehicle of change that will see our town revitalised and turned into a town that is growing in prosperity economically as well as socially.

Newton Stewart Initiative have several projects on the go which involve turning empty and derelict buildings into community buildings. We have recently commissioned Collective Architecture to begin feasibility studies and surveys on The Grapes Hotel, a derelict building on the high street. Our vision is to turn this into a large community shop downstairs and affordable housing on the top two levels. Vibe 75, was a former café on the high street, which would have been left empty were it not for the kindness of the owners who wanted to see the building put to good use. We have taken on a five year lease and plan to turn the ground floor into a community hub and the upstairs into a dedicated youthwork space. We have put in a stage two application for a community asset transfer on the Old Town Hall and have a variety plans to turn this into a community space. High street regeneration was one of the main themes to come out of our Local Place Plan and NSI are doing what they can to revitalise the high street for our community.

We do have a range of other projects such as a youth club and detached youth work, the build of an Inclusive Play Park & Changing Places toilet in Douglas Park, a Community Shop which sells second hand goods, with profits going straight back into our Community and the running of the Newton Stewart Centre a small community centre in Newton Stewart.