Community Projects Fund open again

Do you have a big idea that could help improve life in Alyth?  We’ve re-opened our Community Projects Fund (CPF) for applications for funding up to £2,000 and the deadline is 27 August. If you have a big idea but need funding to turn it into a reality, don’t delay and get your application in today!

http://lovealyth.org.uk/projects/alyth-community-projects-fund/

Old Alyth Fire Engine gets a new home

Alyth’s old horse-drawn fire engine has gained a new home thanks to a grant from ADT’s Community Projects Fund.

Classic Restorations Ltd on Pittnacree Street have been the custodians of the original horse-drawn Burgh of Alyth Community Fire Engine for many many years, but it was stored out of the way where nobody could view it.  The £800 grant has enabled Classic Restorations to instal a special “carcoon” – a see-through protective air chamber – in an area of their workshops where it can be easily viewed by residents upon request.

The air chamber will prevent further deterioration of the fire engine until a full restoration plan and costings can be put together.  The air chamber has a small electric fan running at the rear which keeps filtered air moving around the object being stored in it.  Classic Restorations already store a number of classic cars in this way.  Eventually, after restoration, the fire engine would be available for use as a display at future events in the town.  

Graeme Johnstone of Classic Restorations said: “This project will help save part of the town’s heritage from total loss. We do not want to lose the fire engine to a museum in Perth or Dundee. This historical piece of fire-fighting equipment should be kept in the town and available for the community to use and see at local events.  The carcoon will stop further deterioration of the fire engine by preventing any dust/dirt build-up on the engine, and more importantly to prevent moisture affecting the wood and causing it to decay further. 

“If somebody wants to see the fire engine then they can call us on 01828 633293 and as long as social distancing is observed then there’s no problem, the shed is well ventilated and the fire engine is at the door,” he added.

The fire engine was built in 1854 by an Aberdeen shipbuilder and was supplied to David Smith & Sons Jute Mill in Alyth by their insurance company.  The machine was used by the jute mill workers to fight fires in Alyth before there was a dedicated fire-fighting crew.  The last recollection of the fire engine being used was by a man called William White, known locally as London Bill.  It was used when the Post Office went on fire, but the fire engine was of little effect because the fire was in a two-storey building and the pump had no pressure. 

The jute mill closed in 1950 and the fire engine was put into storage. It was found again when Forfar Carpets acquired the building in 1964. The fire engine had been damaged so George Ferguson joiners repaired it.  About 1970 it was re-sprayed so the current paint is not original. The fire engine was frequently loaned out to local fire stations for open days (Perth, Dundee, Arbroath etc.), but the owners insisted that the machine must always be housed in Alyth.  The carpet factory closed and Classic Restorations (Scotland) Ltd owner, Charles Palmer, purchased the building for storage of vehicles being restored. The fire engine was still in the building when Charles acquired it and has been stored there ever since.

If you have a local project that would be of benefit to Alyth and its community, look out for the next round of our Community Projects Fund opening in the autumn.  More details here: http://lovealyth.org.uk/projects/alyth-community-projects-fund/

Get your views heard about Alyth’s future

REMINDER: What do you think should be the priorities for Alyth’s development over the next few years? Get involved in the Community Action Plan and make sure your views are heard! The survey is in this month’s Voice, and you can pop your completed questionnaire into the Co-op, Café in The Square, Lunan Newsagents or M. M. Ferguson, or you can complete it online at the link below. It’s completely anonymous. For more information and to receive a copy of the results after the survey is finished, contact communityconnectoralyth@gmail.com https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Y5N8NNH

ADT grant helps launch new games club for Alyth

L-r: Game Square founders Jamie Stewart, Laura Rodger and Grant Train

Alyth has a new club for teenagers and adults interested in gaming, thanks to a grant from our Community Projects Fund.

Game Square, which launched with a covid-compliant outdoor scavenger hunt in mid-May, will create spaces for adults and young people (aged 13+) to meet and connect in four main types of gaming:  video-games, tabletop role-playing games, board games and card games.

The £2,000 grant from ADT will pay for games consoles and equipment, venue-hire and administrative costs for the first year.  The group aims to get fully up and running once Scotland emerges from lockdown, and plans to run regular club events in a safe and fun environment catering to the varied needs and preferences of its members.

Game Square organiser Laura Rodger explained:  “We will provide a space to connect those in the community through a shared interest of gaming.  Online gaming has become more popular throughout the various lockdowns as a way for people to stay connected and in touch with friends.  Coming out of lockdown, we aim to provide a space for people to game and socialise in person, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness.  We’ll be open to all who have an interest in gaming, from complete beginners to seasoned players, creating a welcoming environment for all who have an interest gaming, regardless of skill level.

Fellow founder Grant Train added: “We would also be looking to collaborate with local groups such as the Alyth Youth Partnership.  It is also important to highlight that by having this club, we will be providing a safe alternative space for young people. Additionally, there are not currently many clubs in Alyth which cater to the 18+ demographic. So our club will provide a secure environment for inter-generational socialisation, improving relations within the community.

Jamie Stewart, the third founder member, said:  “There’s nothing else like this anywhere nearby, so we hope to attract anyone who would like to give gaming a go, or who doesn’t currently have a club to attend, not just from Alyth but from surrounding communities like Blairgowrie, Rattray, Meigle and so on as well, hopefully creating extra business for our town and strengthening inter-community connections.”

Game Square will be run as a non-profit club, with any surplus being invested back in the group, eventually becoming self-sustaining within two-to-three years.  Once established, Game Square hopes to run an additional club for 8 to 12 year olds, as well as community events such as family game-days, taster sessions and game tournaments.  Find out more on the group’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/317308696485299\

Overwhelming support for Jubilee Park plans

The results are in for the recent community survey on Jubilee Park, and the verdict is a resounding ‘Yes’ for a new path and possibly other improvements in the future. The Jubilee Park Working Group has expressed huge thanks to everyone who took the time to give their views.

More than 170 people replied, which is about one in 14 (or 7) of the town’s population – a pretty good result for this sort of thing. There were responses from all age groups, from under 10s to over 65s, and the Working Group think the results are a good representation of the view of the community.

Eight out of 10 people said they visit the Park at least one or more times per month, most of them one or more times per week. Nearly 60% listed walking, particularly dog-walking, as their main activity. Jubilee Park’s role as a community asset was emphasised by almost 40% saying they met friends, took part in organised activities, sports and games, or took their children and grandchildren for fresh air and exercise.

More than 150 of the respondents (88%) strongly welcomed the idea of a new path, saying it would encourage them to visit more often in wet weather, or to take buggies and wheelchairs there, and that they would likely visit more often. When asked to say what improvements they’d like to see, lots of people called for more play facilities for children, more seating, toilets and dog-waste bins among other things. Several people said Larghan Park in Coupar Angus could be a good model for the Jubilee Park.

The Working Group said they were very encouraged by the response, and will now be talking to Perth & Kinross Council and looking for sources of funding to turn Alyth’s shared vision into reality.

The full survey results, including individual comments, can be viewed here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-YFW8PXDL9/, and you can keep in touch with the Working Group on Facebook.

Community Action Plan for Alyth moves closer with new appointment

Laura Rodger is Alyth’s new Community Connector

Moves to develop a new action plan for Alyth’s future have taken a big step forward with the appointment of Laura Rodger to the role of Community Connector.

Alyth Development Trust (ADT) and the Alyth Community Support Group are leading a consortium of local groups and organisations in working out a vision for the town’s future and formulating a Community Action Plan (CAP) for turning it into reality.  The CAP will identify the main priorities for Alyth and set out how the community can help influence and achieve positive changes at a local level.  

As Community Connector, Laura’s task for the next few months will be to engage with local people and groups to gather opinions, ideas, facts and figures about all aspects of Alyth.  All this data will then be fed into a detailed plan setting out the strategies, priorities and actions to be followed over the next few years.

Laura will interview local people and groups and support ADT and the other consortium members in running community consultation surveys.  She will compile a report outlining the key findings and also help deliver a community event to feed back the findings to the community and get agreement on priorities for action.

Laura grew up in Alyth and went to Blairgowrie High School before going on to complete undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Dundee, where she also got involved in documentary film-making and Great War research.  She has travelled and worked in mainland Europe, North and South America, including spells teaching English to primary and secondary school pupils in Colombia and Spain and working as a research assistant on a Native American research project.

Laura commented:  “I am very excited begin undertaking my role as Community Connector here in Alyth.  I am eager to start building the profile of the town as it is today. Most importantly, I am looking forward to engaging with the community as a whole in order to establish what we can do to make Alyth a better place for everyone in our community.”