I attended a Can Do Places Enterprise Mash Up on the 20th April at the Drygate brewery.
Despite the location the event was sober!
The Can Do Places vision is “to help people create Can Do Spaces in towns across Scotland. Not innovation spaces, not creative spaces but messy spaces. Spaces where people can make their own work, try out new ideas and collaborate. Places where the money stays in the local economy”
Well that might be the vision but the people who made the event were people dedicated to their community , innovative and entrepreneurial and who were keen to tell us all what they hope for and how far had they got.
Ailsa Campbell, chair of the Crieff Community Development Trust spoke of the trials the Trust is having in trying to take over a derelict hotel for Can Do, The Drummond Arms, from an owner while the owner is happy to sit on the property rather than sell at a realistic price. The trust would like to convert the building into a fruitful place where people can create new and existing businesses, undertake entrepreneurial and community initiatives bringing money into the local economy which the Trust estimates at £1.5million.
You can read read what Ailsa is up against at http://www.scotlandstowns.org/the_entrepreneurial_low_down_on_the_high_street where she speaks to Iain Scott, Director of Can Do Places.
Crick Carleton, on the Community Council and Community Development Trust of Peebles, drew our attention to the fact that Peebles which on the surface was the most delectable town to live in south of Edinburgh is not so delectable below its surface veneer. Problems of commuters, no local employment, housing which has grown by 1/3 in the last 15 years but no affordable housing and the last open land gazumped under the Development Trust’s noses because they could not meet the price. You may recognise a resemblance to Linlithgow. Crick considers that Peebles has one last chance at Can Do. The last mill in the Town is closing, it’s an ideal site of 3.5 hectares and the Development Trust has the chance of taking it over. Their plans are to include areas for core business services, quiet places for thinking, smelly places for cookery and noisy places for music. Crick asked us: Should they go ahead and make an offer; 2/3 of us agreed.
You can get some idea of where Peebles as a Town sees its concerns at http://www.peeblescommunity.org/sites/default/files/projects/Open%20Event%20consolidated%20outputs%20v2.pdf
There were of course other speakers; George Boyle, an Irish lady who has set up the Fumbally Exchange, a community for design and innovation focused on small businesses, sole traders and start-ups aiming to cultivate an open, professional atmosphere for creative and regenerative growth. You can read more on Fumbally at http://www.fumballyexchange.com/.
So what has Can Do Places to offer Linlithgow: well Crieff and Peebles though smaller than us, suffering from commuting , no affordable housing, poor infrastructure, are trying to take over derelict sites for vibrant community hubs; reminds you of Victoria Hall?