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April 20, 2011

Getting the message out there

One of the most common complaints you’ll hear from people who are involved in running community projects, especially the ones that have been long established, is that they can’t get new folk involved. It’s not rocket science but it seems like these two community initiatives in Earlston in the Scottish Borders and Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway have found the answer

DALBEATTIE’S first Spring Fayre, which was held in the town hall on Saturday, proved a big success. Hundreds of residents and some from further afield called in to see what was on offer. More than 35 groups and organisations were represented, with some making a real effort to dress their stands with eye-catching colours and displays. The aim of the event was to promote the wide range of activities and opportunities available in the area and feedback from many of the people who attended suggests that it achieved its aim.

Graham Platt, development manager with Dalbeattie Community Initiative, organised the Spring Fayre.

He said: “I was delighted with the public turnout on the day. The Town Hall was really buzzing. Most of the exhibitors I spoke to had been busy during the day and had received a lot of enquiries whilst the tea and coffee area downstairs was packed out.”

“It was really encouraging to see so many groups together in the same place and a lot of networking took place.”

The organisers are grateful to the Rotary Club of Dalbeattie for sponsoring the event, and to all the clubs and groups who took part as well as all the Initiative volunteers who helped organise the Fayre and assisted on the day. Graham added: “The success of the Spring Fayre gives us great encouragement to make this an annual event to promote all that is good about Dalbeattie. Even though we had 35 groups this year, there were still many that were not represented and I would like to get those involved next time around.”


A community day was held on Saturday to showcase the variety of volunteer-led groups in Earlston – and more than 30 of them flocked to the town square. Residents turned out in force to support the event and many were surprised at the number of groups operating in the area.

“I have just moved into the village and it’s great to find out what’s going on,” said one.

For the younger generation the biggest attraction of the day was the mobile pump track organised by the Leader Bike Club. This proved so popular that even Jeremy Purvis MSP couldn’t resist having a go.  “The day has proven to be a great success and I have been amazed at the number of groups running in the village. It was a fantastic day for raising awareness, meeting new people and getting involved with your community,” commented Mags Powell, chair of Earlston Community Development Trust.