Celebrate Kilmarnock Keeps the Conversation Going!

Transforming Kilmarnock Cross and King Street was top of the agenda for our ‘All About Kilmarnock: The Power of 10” community engagement event on Wednesday. Once again the Park Hotel played host to a brilliant gathering of like-minded individuals from our great wee toon, all fully committed to making Kilmarnock a better place to live, work, study and socialise.
Board member Elaine Cowan got the night off to a flying start, emphasising our goal to “recognise and reclaim our role at the heart of the town”. The importance of community led regeneration was also highlighted by Elaine in her introductory speech:
“We all recognise that decisions on the approach to revitalising an area or space must ensure that local businesses and the community are involved in the decision making process. More questions need to be asked and more voices need to be heard. Tonight is about starting the conversation, agreeing some actions and looking at what collectively we can do to realise our town’s potential.”
James Wilson then revealed plans for this year’s K-Fest music festival, followed by Kilmarnock Harriers runner Matt Dodds, who discussed the upcoming Roon the Toon 10K, due to take place on Sunday 7th June. Then David Little of the Brass & Granite updated us on the success of their most recent Hallowe’en Extravaganza and reiterated the importance of celebrating Kilmarnock’s unique relationship with the ghostly festivities. Finally Karen Walker, Private Sector Liaison Officer, announced an upcoming Property Matchmakers event, which will take place on Wednesday 29th April at the Park Hotel from 4:00pm – 7:30pm. Karen explained that this event will cover commercial property becoming residential, advice on investing in property, information stalls and speakers, including Phil Prentice from Scotland’s Town Centre Partnership.
Then the real fun began as our group activities got underway. Each table focused on what needs to change to encourage people to spend more time in town, all while sharing ideas and visualising what they might look like on a map of King Street. After a quick-fire feedback session from all groups, the night came to an end.
We’d like to thank everyone who came along and gave up their time to help “keep the conversation going” for improving our wonderful town.
Now, more than ever, we all need to pull together and start to build a town we can all be proud of!

Lorna Wallace - Board Member, Celebrate Kilmarnock

We were delighted to host our ‘Wee Blether’ last night at Celebrate Kilmarnock HQ. It was great to see so many people enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Thank you for your participation and support throughout the year. We could not have achieved as much as we have as a movement for change within a community led regeneration agenda without you! 💪

Our ‘Why’ (Why we do what we do)
To create a movement for change - positively influencing people's perception of Kilmarnock and working towards a culture we can all be proud of.

Our ‘How’ (How do we make it happen)
By involving people of our town to deliver visible, clear & concise results.

Our ‘What’ (What is it we’re doing to make it happen)
Building the platforms to make the positive community & culture changes possible.

Together we are Kilmarnock’s Town Centre Partnership, with strong representation from civil society, EAC, businesses, churches and charitable groups. We have developed a strong track record in wider community engagement and capacity building. I hope you have felt part of that process as we review some of our achievements this past year:

  • King Street unit formal opening.
  • Expanded quarterly wider stakeholder meetings into public conferences.
  • K-TALKS: Conversations to inspire our community pilot programme. Huge success a master class in community engagement
  • Festive Shopping Spree #KeepItInKillie.
  • Provided support to other community groups.
  • 4th Killieween Spooky Walk, plus Saturday Spooktacular family event.
  • 3rd K-Fest music event, plus 'Busk Stops' musical talent shows.
  • Board development and extended public engagement.
  • Delivered public/parliamentary workshops.

We’ve done this because of your commitment and passion for Kilmarnock and the real feeling that somebody should be doing something. You are and you have. For 2020 our ambitions are no less ambitious:

  • Develop a permanent community owned space at the town centre Cross.
  • Build on and increase Kilmarnock's Killieween USP and Halloween activities.
  • Extend and develop K-Fest to deliver music events throughout the Summer.
  • Fully utilising the opportunities of the King Street unit to engage with public.
  • Work with businesses on a common agenda to enhance town centre commercial opportunities and 'Keep It In Killie'.
  • Spearhead a 'Power of 10' placemaking and 'What If?' community-led regeneration strategy for our town centre.
  • Driving a common agenda to bring our whole community to work together for a town we can all be proud of!

The building of a common agenda is about engagement: and involves exploration and curiosity. “If we do what we’ve always done then we will get what we always got.”

We’ll need time to release old patterns and explore and accept new approaches and ideas.

It is about:

  1. Building a common commitment
  2. Reaching out to our town community
  3. Evoking curiosity and creativity
  4. Taking the time for broad engagement
  5. Involving a lot of people where there is debate and discussion; where creativity and commitment have time to emerge; where new ideas are embraced, and where excitement builds.

Our primary focus is not on being against things, but on developing and promoting positive possibilities. We believe in using creative ways to engage and involve people, encouraging them to imagine the future they want to be part of, at the same time having fun and celebrating success. Celebration is vital to Kilmarnock being successful ensuring as many opportunities for celebration as possible. This process should after all, feel more like a party than a protest.

So thank you for a very full year, our wonderful volunteers without whom our wider engagement could not be achieved.

Thank you to our board members and all of our volunteers who continue to challenge established ways of working.

Thank you to East Ayrshire Council for a commitment to deliver Community Led Regeneration with and through Celebrate Kilmarnock the town centre partnership.

Our need for community is not a weakness; it is a strength. In fact, it is the basis of our work, so that together we create a dynamic, interdependent, effective movement for change striving to work toward some of the best ideas you have shared throughout the year. What keeps us from being another talking shop, is you. It is our equality, our unity, and our charity with a passion and purpose. The purpose of challenging ourselves and challenging others to be better and do better allowing ourselves to believe that anything is possible.

‘That’s a toon worth Celebratin’

Thank you, have a lovely Christmas and see you all in the new Year!

David Cameron — Chair of Celebrate Kilmarnock

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