‘Our Community’ Team visit Newcastleton

On the 2nd June seven of us from Cove and Kilcreggan went to Newcastleton, to see what they had achieved over the last 20 years in building a sustainable future for their village.

They are a landlocked island 25 miles from Carlisle, 25 miles from Hawick. Like us, they have a Primary School and a 40-minute bus journey to secondary education. As is the same as many areas, they have seen a decline of local industry and jobs.

Here’s us in a presentation about the village and their successes.

The recession in 2008 led to the loss of their petrol station. Residents and visitors had to drive 25 miles for fuel. Spending locally declined as the car drivers left the village, leading to job losses and the closure of businesses.

They engaged with their 900 or so residents by consultation, collaboration and community involvement asking, “what do you like about living here?”, and “what do you not like?”. This led them to focus on the desires while protecting what was felt to be important.

They started a small project – an idea to resurrect the tennis courts which grew and lead to a multi-use pitch with floodlights and a community run sports centre.

In 2015, collaboration allowed them to buy land where fuel tanks were sited, which had an existing fuel licence, and they set up two unmanned fuel pumps and an electric car charging point. 1p from each litre of fuel sold goes back to the community, helping to fund projects.

Fuel meant people were saved a 50-mile round trip, people began to shop locally again and the footfall of tourists increased, helping existing businesses to thrive and creating opportunity for new ones to begin.

The village community and landowners came together to build a bridge over the River Liddle, to connect with the forest and bringing local leisure facilities back into the heart of the village, supporting physical and mental wellbeing.

Various community groups run the Bowling Green, the Community Centre, The Heritage Centre, and the Multi-sports facility. They managed to rebuild after two major floods caused extensive damage, and have now build flood defence bunds to minimise future risks.

They have created a Bunkhouse – self-catering facilities for 14 people with secure storage for bikes, a commercial laundry (already too small for their needs, as tourism has grown), and a Community Hub for a wide range of resources. They have found that working together is the only way to keep things sustainable.

We returned re-invigorated to keep the ‘Our Community’ project moving forward and to help bring to life the aspirations evident in the February 2023 community survey. We need people to engage on a personal level, to offer help for the enthusiasm of the adventure, to protect, preserve and promote our villages for our children, grandchildren and for future residents. We should embrace the local services we have, so that that this impact will permeate through to the community. If we can’t love our villages, make dreams, and enjoy living here, then what is the point? The tragedy is that we don’t really appreciate what we have until we lose it – so let’s not lose it!

If you’d like to get more involved in the next stages of the ‘Our Community’ project please e mail us on or send us a message via facebook. You would be very welcome.

We’d like to thank the Newcastleton Team for hosting us on a fantastic field trip.

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