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March 17, 2010

Neilston’s energy knows no bounds

Community Powerdown is a consortium of 25 communities that have all committed to undertake a wide range of measures to reduce their carbon emissions.  One of these communities, Neilston in East Renfrewshire, is never out of the news these days.  They’ve bought a bank, published a Town Charter, developed a wind farm, and run an amazing arts festival.   This weekend, a special event -  Neilston Up For Powerdown – is  being held to showcase all of the above and more

Neilston Up For Powerdown
Saturday March 20, 2010 11.00am -11.oopmpm       

Neilston Development Trust (NDT) is delivering Neilston up for Powerdown on Saturday March 20th 2010.  This outdoors event (marquee and street-based) in the heart of the village is “unmissable”!

The Powerdown event, in part funded through the Climate Challenge Fund set up by the Scotttish Government to help communities make a difference by significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions, sits well with the aspirations for sustainability, now enshrined in the Neilston “Town Charter,” created to support the ambitions of Scotland’s first Renaissance Town. 

The Powerdown project has been embraced by the Neilston Development Trust as an opportunity to heighten our commitment to the sustainability agenda and integrate it into all the Trust’s activities.  NDT is a local charity and development trust established in the community in 2006 with a focus on cultural life, physical environment in support of sustainable regeneration. With planning permission pending for a first of its kind wind farm joint venture, the Trust has attracted attention from the Scottish Government and the Secretary of State for the Environment for its innovative approach.

NDT’s commitment to sustainability is inseparable from its promotion of Neilston as a place, to live and visit and is integral to the annual programme of cultural events delivered by the Trust (branded as Neilston Live!).   Combining the cultural and sustainability agendas, Up for Powerdown is an opportunity to reduce energy usage levels at an individual, household and community level alongside a  celebration of  community life and support of  the local economy; local services and amenities; at the same time raising  the profile of the Neilston as a place to visit.

This fun, eventful and informative celebration  will be used, for example, to gain commitment to carbon reduction targets, generate interest in, and gather support for, proposals towards the development of cycle paths and walks in, as well as raise the profile of, and interest in, local clubs and facilities. 

Our aim is to capture the interest and involvement of as many people in the community of Neilston (and beyond) as is possible for a subject matter that may still seem remote or beyond their influence.  Our intention is to employ creative and enjoyable ways to make this endeavor accessible, enjoyable, and non-threatening. 

Our overriding objectives are threefold:

1. To advance the communities aspirations (as stated in the Neilston Town  Charter) as an exemplary and  sustainable community for the 21st century through the delivery of a large-scale  public awareness-raising event;
2. to allow the Neilston community to celebrate and showcase its status as Scotland’s first Renaissance Town through a modest and temporary transformation of the village’s public space;

3. to support community life in Neilston, by providing an opportunity for residents to meet their neighbours informally (with music and entertainment as part of the event) through the celebration of local life and culture.

A lively and rich daytime programme of events, workshops, information and street-based activities (11-4pm) will be followed by a lantern parade through the village and a ’low-carbon family-ceilidh, and celebration in the evening (6.30-11pm). 

Highlights include the the visual and aural spectacle of the Horse Box Orchestra and Puppet Show; (the premier of Planet Fantastic by the Primary 6 pupils of St Thomas’s and Neilston Primary School with the Walking Theatre Co; and the first public rendition of “Going Green in Neilston” written and performed for the event by local band the Skunnered (and featuring the P6 pupils of the local primary schools as backing vocals!).  CDs of the song will be available for purchase!

Experts will be on hand to answer all your questions on everything from gardening to underfloor heating.  Don’t miss the “light-hearted” but useful Gardeners Question time (with our own Monty Don!).  Lots of hands on activities for all ages including a chance to make and plant up your own planter – for free!; plus demos and tuition in skateboarding, street-dance on the High St (a road closure has been arranged for the day!). 

The day ends with the magical low-carbon lantern parade in the evening as we make our way round Neilston accompanied by the Neilston and District Pipe Band and the visiting Demon Drummers and get ready for an evening-finale of great local music at the Low carbon Ceilidh (delicious light supper included!). Ceilidh tickets £8; £5 seniors; family ticket (2 adults plus children) £20

All you need to know about lowering your carbon footprint, saving money and having a good time too!   Delicious take away snacks and food for sale.  Room to sit, relax and chat.  Loads of free entertainment for all ages and interests.  Come and join us in a day to remember!

For more information visit  Or contact or 0797 417 1830.  Tickets for the
ceilidh available at