Spotlight on Newton Stewart Initiative

Posted: 12 March 2024, in Member Spotlight-News

We’re joined by Newton Stewart Initiative (NSI) in our latest member spotlight. NSI is a community organisation with charitable status designed to regenerate Newton Stewart in Dumfries and Galloway. We spoke to Lindsay Banks, Project Support Worker at NSI to find out more about who they are, what they do and their plans for the upcoming year.

What does your social enterprise do?

Newton Stewart initiative is a registered Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation  (SCIO) and was formed in 2014. NSI aims to develop community facilities, support community led initiatives, businesses and regeneration projects, youthwork and any other project that benefits the community living, working or studying in and around Newton Stewart.  

How do you do it?

We do this through working in partnership with a variety of groups and organisations within the town to facilitate the needs of the community. Funding is a huge part of this and to this end we have a community shop, run and managed by nearly 30 volunteers that commits 20% of all income to grant fund local organisations.

Why should someone buy/use your product/services? What are the benefits and what makes your organisation unique?

We have rooms to hire within our centre and a new location on the high street, Vibe 75, which is available to groups or individuals looking to bring their services/classes to Newton Stewart. As a not for profit organisation all income is put back into the charity and therefore the community.

What’s your personal motivation?

I love seeing how the work I do has an impact on the town. From receiving funding for a project, such as renovating the old Grapes Hotel, to having a conversation with Margaret about her Arts & Craft club. I want to see the town and the people thriving.

What is the current focus for your social enterprise?

Completing the Local Place Plan in partnership with the Cree Valley Community Council and Cree Valley Area Development Trust. Renovating a derelict building on the high street into a new community shop and affordable housing and turning another building into a community hub and dedicated youth space

What exciting things do you have coming up?

The renovation of the Grapes Hotel on the high street, building a community hub and youthwork space on the high street and hopefully moving our existing offices onto the high street.

Who do you want to work with more?

We would like to work with more groups just outside of the Newton Stewart area who are looking to bring an activity/service/class/workshop into the town. We have spaces to hire and we are looking to expand the offerings within the town for young and older residents.

What’s your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenges are funding applications and capacity. We have a lot of projects in the pipeline and need to expand our organisation to be able to deliver them all well.

Where do you see your organisation in 5 years?

Running a successful community hub and dedicated youthwork space with a dedicated manager on the high street. Continuing to work with and supporting local groups and organisations. To have a thriving community shop with tenants in our affordable accommodation. To still be going!

What top tips would you give to other social enterprises?

There is a lot of information out there for social enterprises and building relationships within your town and with other organisations is key to building your enterprise. Mistakes happen but we learn and grow from them.

For more information about Newton Stewart Initiatives, please visit their website and make sure to follow them on Facebook.

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