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Walkerburn WAVE Group

Walkerburn is a small village in the Scottish Borders, originally created to serve a textile mill and associated businesses. At its height over 2000 people lived in Walkerburn. When the Mill closed around 10 years ago the population plummeted to its current level of around 600 people. The only facilities in the 'Burn are a primary school, combined post office and shop, a rundown playpark and a village hall. Amongst a small number of employers in the 'Burn are 1 hotel, a couple of B&Bs, a handful of light industries and a chemical works (the major employer). Walkerburn is one of the EU Objective 2 regeneration areas. There was a strong feeling of being neglected and looked down upon for living in the 'Burn, particularly amongst teenagers. One of whom when asked for his experiences described life in Walkerburn as "Cardboard City"

 

The WAVE Group was set up in April 2001 to improve life in Walkerburn. The group consists of local people and groups advised and supported by the Scottish Borders Rural Partnership, Tweeddale Association of Voluntary Organisations (local CVS) and other organisations.

 

Since its inception the group has carried out an extensive series of public consultations, culminating in a vote to determine priorities from a "wish list". The top ten priorities decided upon have formed the basis of phase 1 of the WAVE Project.

 

So far the project has helped set up a thriving weekly Youth Club attended by 90% of local teenagers, formed a group of local business and created a newsletter that now runs to 4 A4 pages funded by donations and adverts. An application is being submitted for a Teen Village (enhanced skatepark).

 

Two subgroups of WAVE are currently investigating the possibility of community enterprises. The most important is the renovation of the Old Mill (which dominates the whole of Walkerburn and is currently derelict) and its possible conversion to a combined business and community centre. Every respondent named the Mill as the thing they would most like to see changed in the Village, even 4 year olds! The business subgroup is investigating the joint promotion of Walkerburn as a tourist destination and of raising the profile of local businesses. Research is being carried out into improving the appearance and community facilities in the village.

 

A Local Area Strategy has just been completed. The group is currently considering future development structures and options.

 

For further information, contact:
Simon Lynch
Tel: 07801 793308
e-mail:
rrc@themenagerie.clara.co.uk

 


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