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Villages Use Tech Power To Create A Virtual Community

Three small villages in Dumfries and Galloway are harnessing a new technology platform to create a virtual community, bringing together all sorts of information relating to their communities under the one umbrella.

Keir, Penpont, and Tynron are rural villages located in Nithsdale and two years ago a Development Trust was created, tasked with driving forward a community action plan developed from a previous community consultation.  Working towards the visions of those living and working in the area, the action plan is aimed to stimulate local engagement, deliver projects for the benefit of the area and help to address the growing concern of a declining population.

Despite having three village halls, local people felt there was an absence of a place where multi-generational activities, workshops and events could take place.  The Trust explored various options for a new ‘physical’ hub, but is currently unable to progress.  The idea of a virtual information centre took hold and the Trust has now launched a unique platform called KPT Community Hub, designed by Glasgow based IT company Our Community Hub.

The online hub is a white-label platform that contains all aspects of a community’s daily life from practical features like local weather and travel, to what’s on information, local deals and news.  It also highlights details of local businesses, clubs and community groups who have their own dedicated space on the app and mobile-friendly site, and 24/7 control of their own content.

As well as promoting their activities, local clubs and community groups can also push out messages to the mobiles and computers of residents.   The platform also acts as a tourist guide for visitors to the local area and can also be used to generate advertising revenue which can be reinvested back into the community.

Mel Teale of the Community Hub Action Team said, “The Trust has six different initiatives underway to benefit our villages for both residents and people perhaps looking to relocate here.  However, connecting our communities and improving communications has been really central to that.  KPT Community Hub is easy to use and we have had great engagement already.  We’ve even had one local resident share a number of songs she wrote during lockdown to help cheer everyone up.”
Colin Docherty, Managing Director of Our Community Hub added, “Lockdown has demonstrated the importance of good communication and technology in local communities and KPT Community Hub is a terrific resource that can also be used to generate income which can be reinvested back into local initiatives.  It also provides a virtual high street for local businesses which is really key at the moment.
“Over the past few weeks we received tremendous interest from communities throughout the UK who are recognising that the need for technology driven communications is only going to be more and more relevant.
“The Trust has been pioneering in all the activities it is undertaking. Given the rural setting of Keir, Penpont and Tynron, communication is crucial but it also helps promote the area and all its benefits.  The Trust is already exploring the possibility of also creating a physical hub.”

Further information is available from www.ourcommunityhub.com and www.kptcommunityhub.com.

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