Scottish Government Minister to see how Falkirk is going from Vacant to Vibrant

Margaret Burgess MSP is visiting Falkirk on Thursday 27th August 2015 to see a process take shape which will develop a community-centred use for a redundant building. The concept is being called ‘Vacant to Vibrant’
By: Can Do Towns
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Aug. 19, 2015 - PRLog -- The former Walmsley’s Store on Falkirk’s Callendar Riggs is being turned into the first CanDoTowns Hub where local people will work together, test out enterprising ideas, and sell and make wares. The key factor here is that the project aims to keep as much of the money generated within the Falkirk economy. Another difference from other regeneration projects is that this one will bring together not-for-profit, public, voluntary, and private sector organisations all under one roof in a unique collaboration.

Housing and Welfare Minister, Margaret Burgess, said:

“In the rush to regenerate our town centres, the aspect of local enterprise is all too often forgotten about.  But we need to nurture entrepreneurship to help bring about the regeneration that some of our high streets so desperately need.  CanDoTowns is a programme that seeks to address exactly that challenge by helping people who are passionate about their communities to bring currently unloved and disused spaces back to life, and in the process encourage greater vibrancy in their town centres.  I am proud today to launch the very first CanDo Hub in Falkirk and trust that it may be an exemplar and inspiration to towns across Scotland.”

CanDoTown’s director, Iain Scott, said:

“This Hub will tap into latent skills and potential to produce a new breed of grassroots entrepreneur, intent on re-inventing their town. For too long, we have been looking to the past to solve current day problems and revitalise our town centres. We now live and work and shop in completely different ways. What has been missing is the realisation that Scotland’s town centres and empty buildings are amazing places and that we need to combine these resources with the amazing people living nearby.”

The journey to today’s launch began in May 2014 when Falkirk Delivers (the Business Improvement District) took part in the ‘Can Do Towns Innovation Challenge.

BID manager Alex Fleming said:

“Our aim was simple: to find a redundant building and breathe new life into it without any funding. The plan was also to create a ‘messy space’- a place where people could share, collaborate and work together. This is not an innovation hub or a creative hub, but a mash up of all kinds of enterprise ideas and enterprising people in a ‘Can Do’ space.”

Can Do Towns is in its infancy and has already worked with groups wanting to help on projects ranging from £1.2 million to £5 million. This next phase aims to turn the outputs of the project from virtual to actual. Falkirk is to be a pilot scheme to show other towns how this hub concept can be successful. If our assumptions are right, then the building could host businesses with a collective turnover of £3 million. If we then use the local economy multiplier, we can predict it will help retain £9 million in the Falkirk area.

Matthew Clarke
Tags:Falkirk, Scotland, Business
Location:Falkirk - Scotland
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