At the first Can Do Places Innovation Challenge get together in Edinburgh in June 2014, the BID for Falkirk, Falkirk Delivers, spoke about their plans to turn a vacant property in the town’s High Street into a permanent community and social enterprise hub.
Falkirk Delivers already had “previous” in this respect, having run a similar, but temporary, 17-months-long, highly successful venture in the town in partnership with 3Space, a charity that arranges free access to empty properties for use by the community.
Says Alex Fleming, assistant BID Manager at Falkirk Delivers: “Since the first Can Do Places session in Edinburgh, we’ve had a very positive meeting with Falkirk Council which owns the property we’re interested in.”
“I think, initially, they had some concerns about the project being a social enterprise but we work very closely with the Council and they now understand that our aim is to create a business with a social enterprise function: to raise money to fund more improvement projects for the town.
“We’re in phase 2 of our application to Just Enterprise and a feasibility study will be carried out to look in more detail at how the property can be developed.
“This is the most ambitious project we’ve embarked on since Falkirk Delivers was set up in 2008 and we always knew it was going to be a slow process.”
In the meantime, Falkirk Delivers, with a staff of three full-timers, two part-timers and two Street Ambassadors, are getting on with a host of ongoing and new initiatives aimed at attracting more people to Falkirk town centre and encouraging those who do come to linger longer.
Alex says: “We’re very lucky that everyone in the BID team feels the same way. Our attitude is: “Let’s just do it!”
Falkirk BID manager, Alastair Mitchell spoke at the Edinburgh meeting about an initiative aimed at making it easier for the many thousands of tourists visiting the Falkirk Wheel (to the east of the town) and the famous Kelpies (in the west) to visit the town itself.
“Two bus companies in the area already operate what amounts to a loop that links the Kelpies and the Wheel to the town” Alex explains “but if you’re a visitor, you wouldn’t know that because it’s not advertised. Since the meeting in Edinburgh, we’ve met with the bus companies and are working together on a branding exercise. In fact, we’re currently deciding on the results of the design process which was put out to tender.”
For up to date news about Falkirk Delivers and the projects they are working on, visit their website www.falkirkdelivers.com