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The People's Project was set up in 2008 by Mark Jardine who wanted to rekindle the meaning of community in Dumfries and Galloway. 
A few of our main achievements are:

1) Dumfries was awarded "Top Large Town" in 2011 by Beautiful Scotland and entered Britain in Bloom 2012;
2)With support from the People's Project, New Abbey was awarded "Top Small Village 2012" by Beautiful Scotland; 

3) The Peter Pan statue was uneveiled in 2011 to promote the fact that Dumfries is the birthplace of Peter Pan.

 4) An acre of ground in the town centre (owned by the People's Project) was leant to Dumfries Academy pupils to create an allotment.

5) The PP has given over a large area in the town centre to the "Dragons Kick Boxing Cub" to create a gymnasium, complete with a full size boxing ring
6) 120 High School pupils re-built an 80 metre section of dry-stane dyke which they had previously knocked over.

 7) The People's Project has risen awareness among the general public of the importance of keeping the town clean and has fitted litter posters all over the region. The PP has influenced the Council, MP's and the Scottish government, particularly it's design of a BASKETBALL BIN at St. Joseph's College.

8) My wife Ruth and I designed a "MUST DO" guide for Dumfries and Galloway, which has been distributed to local hotels and B&B's, with 14 circular drives/cycles, encouraging tourists to return to the area.

 9) Through art work, we have transformed a 100 metre section of wall at QOS home Palmerston Park, and brought the public's attention to Dumfries Castle where Robert the Bruce raised the standard in 1306, by the erection of a piece of art at the entrance to Castledykes Park.

10) We had hoped to erect a statue to Robert the Bruce in 2013, highlighting the towns important connection to the Scottish King; unfortunately plans were rejected. 

 11) We have tirelessly worked with the police on litter matters, with the council on a flood wall scheme for the River Nith and we have made numerous donations locally, most notably to: The Theatre Royal; Mobility Scooters; The creation of a Cafe for Disabled Young people; and local allotments.

12) We also created a special POPPY MEMORIAL at Troqueer School.
 13) We are working with a new group to reopen the Loreburn Hall to the public, (a massive undertaking).
14) We intend to plant a large orchard close to Lincluden Abbey to complete the initial work carried out by the Chavs organsiation .

 That is a flavour of some of the things that the People's Project has achieved in the last five years. We don't just talk about it, - WE DO IT!    

 There is a well known saying:

"Nobody can do everything, - but everyone can do something"

The People's Project recognises this fact and asks you to embrace that philosophy in an effort to improve the quality of life for every person living locally.   

 It would be good to see young people who are frustrated at the lack of action, - coming forward with ideas for their town. 
We’ve seen huge sums of money raised for the Alexandra Unit over the years, - and of-course, undeniably,  - the unit is a superb facility. However, - given the constraints placed upon the council with regards to budgets, - plus the present credit crunch, there appears to be little opportunity for investment from either the private or public sector.
Rather than waiting for the private investor to suddenly appear, - like a genie out of a bottle, - could we not all contribute, - in lots of little ways, - providing investment capital for the schemes we all want for the area?
For example, -the Dumfries public, ( and by Dumfries, - I mean the region ) have been pleading for years for a 10 pin bowling alley and a multi-plex cinema. Through The People’s Project, could we not provide these types of facilities for them?

 THE DOCUMENT BELOW IS THE INITIAL DRAFT FOR THE PEOPLE'S PROJECT,- which mentions the Loreburn Hall.  However, - the former Tesco store which is now owned by Queen of the South is in an ideal location for a revamp.
 As our retail sector changes beyond all recognition, - there may well be other buildings that could be used for different purposes. - Woolworths is in a prime location, - could it not be used for leisure for example? 

  1. A bank account has been opened for The People’s Project, - allowing anyone to make donations large or small. PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE NO ADMIN CHARGES  (bank account details available here).
  2. Businesses could tie their colours to the mast by making cheque presentations, - showing their willingness to invest in the local economy.
  3. Individuals could give something back to the community by re-investing in it.
  4. Companies and schools could have “dress down days” with all proceeds going to the fund.
  5. Supermarkets and Public Houses could place buckets or bottles for the project. 
  6. People could bequeath funds to the project on the event of their death.
  7. Sponsored events of all types could take place.
  8. Churches could become involved in a practical local project.
  9. The Project would become self perpetuating.
 The list is effectively endless!

A steering group (FOR EACH SEPARATE PROJECT) would need to be formed, - made up of a mix of business people; philanthropists; youth and experience, willing to devote time and energy to our area, without expecting a director’s cheque at the end of each financial year!
The group would expect the local council to assist with grant applications, - free planning; and all ancillary assistance, - bearing in mind there would be a huge reduction in consultant fees, - as they would have a team of consultants working hand in hand with them – and making the all important decisions, - removing the risk from our elected members.

 There have already been a number of small projects undertaken, - we now need to tackle a major project:

 How about extending the height of the wall on the Whitesands to avoid flooding for example?
As already intimated, the area desperately requires some much needed leisure facilities and a town centre draw.
Could the Loreburn Hall (or some other building) not be converted into a multi use facility? It is already publicly owned, and surely a better use could be found for it than turning it into 30 car-parking spaces?
It could house a three screen multi-plex, - each theatre containing 100 seats.  Next to this could be a bar, restaurant/café adjacent to say, a six lane 10 pin bowling alley.  Beyond this could be a “Laser Quest,” a Climbing Wall and a “Paint Ball Bedlam Centre” for example.
All the above would draw people into the town centre, - and if the 10 pin bowling was full, - they might try some other activity, - or go to take in a film.
All of the above would create employment, - pumping money into the local economy, - and attracting people to the area.  It would be prudent to keep the businesses local, - rather than bringing in outside franchises, - which would simply strip cash away from Dumfries. Perhaps a co-operative of businesses overseen by The People’s Project?
The Project could set sensible salary levels, - with any profits realised ploughed back into the upkeep of the building – rather than lining individuals pockets. It could also decide to close any area which was deemed uneconomic and consider a change of use.
Ultimately, - if the above project proved unsuccessful and a financial drain on resources, the board could vote to “pull the plug”.
Hopefully, though, an idea like this might entice further inward investment in the town, - as it would be seen as a “go-ahead” town, - rather than somewhere in the doldrums.
 As already mentioned above, - the former Tesco site at Palmerston Park is perfect for a real People's Project, - and it has the added advantage of a car-park with 100's of spaces. - Could the football club work with The People's Project and really make Dumfries The Queen of The South?

Hopefully the people of the town would appreciate that their money was being spent wisely and continue to donate to the cause.
The Dumfries public would be invited to suggest future causes by contacting the steering group or project manager.
A list of appropriate projects would be drawn up and the local people would vote on which one they preferred. This would keep it very egalitarian – and allow the locals a real say in the running of their region.

Contact a number of local people and businesses who have the town/region in their blood, - and get them behind the project and hopefully prominent local people will show their willingness for the Project and make a donation.
Get the Standard and Radio West Sound to give it saturation coverage, - and hopefully some money will start to drip feed its way into the coffers of The People's Project.
Once there is backing, - it is imperative that this is no mealy-mouthed nonsense and we go about schemes on a “Challenge Aneka” basis, - bringing projects to fruition.

This is not for the feint hearted, nor is it for those of us who want to make a quick buck. – This is THE PEOPLE’S PROJECT,  an opportunity to take Dumfries by the scruff of the neck and put it firmly on the map…

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