Balmaclellan Smiddy is declared open for business

Friday the 29th of November saw the culmination of a major project in the village of Balmaclellan with the public launch of the refurbished ‘Smiddy’, providing a multi-purpose community building with a focus on training and education opportunities for the people of the Glenkens.

The Smiddy building, in the centre of the village, has been completely refurbished and now includes meeting rooms, modern facilities and is able to host a variety of events and activities. The Smiddy is run and operated by Glenkens Community & Arts Trust (GCAT) responsible for the very popular CatStrand facility in new Galloway and a variety of local initiatives such as the Galloway Community Transport scheme and the Glenkens Gazette.

The project cost more than £300,000 in total, with funding coming from the Galloway Glens Scheme, D&G LEADER and The Gough Trust. Additional support has come from Holywood Trust and a number of private individuals. The work was completed on time and on budget by local firm William Waugh & Sons.


Alan Smith, Chairman of Glenkens Community & Arts Trust, said:

Whilst the official opening was on the 29th, the Smiddy has now been in use for several weeks and the level of public interest and use has been amazing. Regular users already include singers, yoga, a creative writing group and even a weekly tin whistle class! The two meeting rooms have had regular use by disparate organisations bringing in attendees from all over the region.
A large audience attended the opening evening and there was universal praise for the warm, welcoming venue that has been created. We were delighted that Tom Corrie, the last blacksmith in Balmaclellan, agreed to formally open the building. The main auditorium features a display of photographs of the Smiddy ‘as was‘, along with recollections from local people concerning the building. The Watson room features a permanent display of work by the world-renowned ornithological artist, Donald Watson, and this has proved of great interest to visitors.
Nicola Hill, Programme Manager of D&G LEADER said:
“The commitment and determination of the community to see this project come to fruition is impressive.  LEADER Local Action Group are delighted to have been able to support this project and we look forward to seeing the Smiddy become the vibrant community facility the Glenkens deserves – well done to everyone involved!”
Ted Leeming, Chair of Galloway Glens Scheme, said:
The Galloway Glens Scheme is delighted to have been able to support GCAT in the refurbishment and launch of the Balmaclellan Smiddy.  I was lucky enough to get a tour while work was underway, and it is clear this is a high-quality venue which will be an asset for the area and will very quickly become an embedded part of the Glenkens and wider landscape. The award we made to this project was one of our largest and that reflects the significance we think this building will have for people in Galloway, hosting activities for people of all ages and interests.
Congratulations to all involved in the project and our thanks, as always, go to our funders, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and our partners including Dumfries & Galloway Council.


If you’d like to book an event, or just have a look at what the Smiddy in Balmaclellan has to offer, please contact GCAT on 01644 420374.

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