John Lamont Joins The Hubbub At New Galloway Town Hall

UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont has visited New Galloway to tour the refurbished Town Hall and meet representatives from community groups.

The Minister sat down with Trustees of Local Initiatives in New Galloway (LING) to discuss how a £175,000 award from the Community Ownership Fund helped transform the Town Hall into an accessible, versatile, and low carbon community space. This was the final stop in a tour of central and southwest Scotland that saw visits to Biggar, New Cumnock, and Cairnryan, meeting community groups that have benefitted from UK Government funding.

Visiting on a Monday evening meant that New Galloway’s weekly Hubbub was in full swing, a social gathering centred on home cooked food, conversation and crafts. The Minister, accompanied by Dumfries & Galloway Councillor Pauline Drysdale, joined local residents for a hot meal and lively discussion on key issues impacting rural life. In his role as representative for Scottish Borders towns, Lamont is particularly focused on infrastructure development, including digital and transport connectivity, and support for local business and community initiatives.

New Galloway’s historic Town Hall is an exemplar of the latter category, having been sympathetically restored over two years and now fully operational as a community hub, hosting classes and activities including indoor sports and music, sustainability workshops, plus regular ‘food and friendship’ socials. LING, a Registered Scottish Charity, took asset transfer of the town hall from Dumfries and Galloway Council in 2022.

Commenting on his visit, John Lamont said, “Timely access to UK Government funding can be transformative for placemaking and communities; it can make all the difference in creating a thriving village or town where all ages have access to the broadest possible range of life and leisure opportunities. I had a very informative conversation with Local Initiatives in New Galloway, covering thoroughly the administrative processes that community-led groups in Scotland go through to secure funding for landmark development such as the Burgh’s Town Hall. I look forward to taking this back to the Scotland Office, where it will help inform future policy on government funding.”

Chair of LING, Barbara Barker, said, “Shared learning is just one of the positive outcomes that can emerge from partnership projects like the restoration of New Galloway Town Hall, which was made possible through Government funding and additional financial support from private and third sector bodies. We were delighted to welcome the Minister to the Royal Burgh of New Galloway and particularly proud that he was able to meet the Town Hall’s wonderful team of staff and volunteers.”

More information about Local Initiatives in New Galloway and the Town Hall is available at www.newgallowaytownhall.com, or by email enquiry to [email protected].