Most of us love the area where we live, right? But we can also think of things that could be better, for example, how that empty space on the high street could be used more creatively, or how it would be great to get more visitors to the area by making the most of the local landmarks and landscapes.
What if you were given the chance to take that idea and turn it into a social enterprise? That is exactly what's been happening in Girvan and the surrounding villages, where we have been helping five people to set up enterprises that make a positive difference in the area, including an indoor farmers market, art workshops for young people and an import coffee business.
We are again inviting local people to come up with ideas that could benefit the area by responding to calls to action: celebrating the local heritage; producing and consuming locally; getting people active and healthy, and more. Successful applicants get access to a programme of support to develop their ideas, as well as seed funding.
One of the participants, Pearl McGibbon from Barrhill, applied last year with a long-held idea to set up and run a weekly, indoors farmers market in Girvan. Having produced a range of jams and chutneys as well as Harris Tweed goods for many years, Pearl realised that a regular farmers market would be a great opportunity to showcase the great produce and crafts that the area has to offer.
Since applying, Pearl has benefited from one to one business support, as well as group training and funding. Her hard work has paid off and she is now ready to run the first market on Good Friday 14 April, and weekly thereafter.
The support I have received through the programme has given me the tools and confidence to get my idea off the ground. I have always felt that the area would really benefit from a weekly market and the response from local producers and consumers has been overwhelmingly positive so far, which is very encouraging.
Pearl McGibbon, Round 1 participant
Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “We are delighted to see people like Pearl seeing their hard work come to fruition. She is an active member of the community, and has years of experience as a producer and market trader. We can’t think of anyone more qualified or prepared to run the market!
Pearl is a good example of how local people, with the right support in place, can make great ideas a reality whilst playing a part in addressing the needs of the area. We would encourage anyone harbouring an idea to get in touch or attend one of our upcoming events.”
Applications for What if...Girvan are open between 3 April and 29 May. Find out more and apply now.