Over the last few years the Glassford Community Group has welcomed many musicians and performers onto the stage in our Village Hall, but only one can claim to have performed in the village as well as on stage in Philadelphia as part of Live Aid in 1985.
Rupert Black joined Big Vern and the Shootahs in 2003 to fill a vacancy as keyboard player. Previously he had been the keyboard player with The Pretenders, Talk Talk, The Alarm before joining Big Vern after recording a charity single with Big Vern guitarist Dave Ramsay. Rupert also performed with the Kevin McDermot Orchestra when they played at Wembley Stadium, supporting Rod Stewart, Status Quo and Joe Cocker in 1991.
Rupert played with The Pretenders in Philadelphia at Live Aid to millions of people worldwide that day and still found time to play the Glassford Hall to help us raise money for the local community.
The thoughts of all in Glassford Community Group are with Rupert’s family and the other members of Big Vern and the Shootahs.
Below are a few images of Rupert performing in Glassford Village Hall with Big Vern and the Shootahs in 2019.
The Glassford Community Group has been working as part of a wider community support effort under the banner of ‘Working together for Avondale’ and has been delighted to do its bit during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The group consists of a number of organisations across Avondale including Strathaven Business Association, Strathaven Evangelical Church (SEC), Avondale Young Farmers, Outreach Community Church (OCC), Avondale LEAP and Strathaven & Glassford Community Council. The group has had great support from VASLan and Home Energy Scotland.
Through being part of the group we have been able to access funds held by Strathaven and Glassford Community Council with donations from Falck Renewables, Banks Renewables, the Renewable Energy Fund and Sandford and Upper Avondale Community Council.
These funds have enabled us to support our community through prescription collection, emergency eye care, free meal delivery from OCC, 15 Steayban vouchers for frontline workers (1/3 was paid from the fund). There are also plans for Glassford Primary School to benefit prior to reopening in August and with Karen Gibb of Glassford business Mind Marvels providing mindfulness support sessions Glassford has certainly benefitted from the wider community support offered by ‘Working together for Avondale’
The Community Group was therefore delighted to be get a mention in an Early Day Motion presented to the Westminster Parliament by Dr Lisa Cameron MP in early June 2020. The community effort has been fantastic and the fact all of those groups were willing to coordinate and collaborate has meant it has worked so much better than if they had worked individually.
McLeans Gin and Jaro Design support the Glassford Community Group
Colin McLean of of Avondale’s McLeans Gin produced the gin liqueur ‘The Glesart’ for the 2020 Glassford Beer and Gin Festival, which unfortunately had to be postponed (To October 3rd 2020) due to COVID-19. This didn’t stop Colin though, who has always been a supporter of the Glassford Community Group.
Colin has been working with Janet and Lynzi of Jaro Design to sell his stock of ‘The Glesart’ and associated miniatures and they have been doing online gin tasting as well as selling the gin liqueur through Jaro Design in the Common Green in Strathaven. It is now almost gone (still a few left if you are quick).
In a gesture the Glassford Community Group is extremely grateful for, Colin donated £475 from the sale of ‘The Glesart’ to the Glassford Community Group and on top of that Janet and Lynzi donated £100 from sales in their shop to the group as well.
These types of generous donations go a long way to helping the Group achieve its objectives. Along with having been granted charity status we are that bit further on the road to our key objective of securing the Glassford Village Hall as a community facility.
As everyone will be aware April is the month we usually hold our Annual General Meeting, under the terms of our constitution. Because of restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 emergency, we are unable to do so and have decided to defer the meeting until guidelines change to enable a meeting to be scheduled. We are also unable to use the village hall and with the Steayban and Glassford Inn there is nowhere to meet at this time.
We decided to summarise where we are. Our meetings with South Lanarkshire have gone well and we are in the position where we had started preparations for an Asset Transfer of the Village Hall under the terms of the Community Empowerment Act. This requires us to prepare a business plan outlining how we will manage, maintain and fund the hall, and to outline planned uses for it.
Our constitution has been redrafted in a template suitable for the Office of Scottish Charity Register and also for a Community Asset Transfer. This has been submitted along with an application for Glassford Community Group to become a Scottish Charitable Incorporate Organisation. This is an essential step in proceeding with an Asset Transfer.
Within the constitution we have defined Glassford Community Group as having three charitable purposes (The are fourteen charity purposes but having taken advice we restricted our purposes to three.)
1 The organisation’s purposes are:
1.1 The advancement of citizenship or community development (including rural or urban regeneration). As a rural community it is important to provide resources, activities and events that tie the community together and that reflect the priorities and needs of Glassford.
1.2 The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science. The objective is two-fold. One, to provide events and activities that provide entertainment for the Glassford community and that provide a use for the village hall. Two, to provide a forum for local musicians, brewers, gin suppliers and food outlets to help sustain arts and culture while supporting local businesses. We also aim to reflect community priorities in relation to heritage, for example through provision of information boards in the village cemetery and through promotion of local heritage and history on our website and social media.
1.3 The provision of recreational facilities, or the organisation of recreational activities with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities or activities are primarily intended. With an increasingly elderly population and being a rural community with poor public transport, it is vital that services and activities are provided that give people an outlet within the village. The Community Group plans to organise recreational activities and also to support community use of the village hall for meetings and regular activities.
As part of our application we included in a response to OSCR the activities of Glassford Community Group since its formation in 2014, under the headings of our three proposed Charitable purposes.
The advancement of citizenship or community development (including rural or urban regeneration).
We carried out a full community consultation, including local groups such as WRI, Senior Circle and Masons to assess usage of the hall on a regular basis and requirements following an asset transfer. The community consultation included the village primary school. The objective of the community consultation was to assess priorities for both the use of the village hall and also wider issues relating to life in Glassford.
We raised funds to purchase Xmas lights for the village and also provided a family film night in the village hall after the lighting up ceremony had taken place. We also provided a Christmas tree for the village in each of the past two years and involved the primary school children of the village by supplying wooden decorations for them to paint. Once varnished they were put on the tree.
The group previously ran a fundraising campaign to upgrade play area facilities in the village park. Work was completed on the second phase of installation in 2017.
The group funded purchase and installation of a defibrillator in the village. It also ran several training courses in CPR attended by around forty people.
The group organised an information board for the village cemetery on the history of the covenanters in Glassford
Our aim is to provide a community hub for people to meet and to carry out group activities. It is a priority for us to be seen to be engaging in community life and to be encouraging development of Glassford as a community and not just somewhere to live.
We will continue to enable and encourage local people to have their say.
The advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science
Glassford, Lanarkshire and Scotland are all rich in arts, heritage and culture. We run events at which local musicians can perform and we encourage local businesses to get involved. The Beer and Gin Festival is a key fundraiser for the group and we ensure that all beer and gin suppliers are as local as possible, and are largely small, niche suppliers. We also ensure that our food suppliers are local and that the entertainment provided for the customers is by local musicians. The events in 2018 and 2019 were highly successful.
Our music events and our beer and gin festival are key means of raising funds to enable us to put on the other activities for the community. They are a key part of our business plan and we require to be able to demonstrate to South Lanarkshire Council that we have a sustainable business model to enable the asset transfer to be completed. It is also a requirement for an asset transfer that we are set up as a SCIO. To date we have had live performances by GUN, Big Minds, Raymond Mearns/Phil Differ and Big Vern & the Shooters. In addition we also supported the Strathaven Folk Festival by supporting a live event in the Village Hall.
Heritage is an important issue. We have funded installation of an information board at the village graveyard. We worked closely with the Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership and its allocated artist (Ewan Allinson) in the development of heritage walks around Glassford. We are also currently assessing options for the three standing stones in the village following a recent case of vandalism. This will involve community consultation.
Glassford Community Group has supported Glassford Galaday in each of the past two years, funding part of the entertainment in the primary school.
The provision of recreational facilities, or the organisation of recreational activities with the object of improving the conditions of life for the persons for whom the facilities or activities are primarily intended.
As part of the community consultation respondents highlighted the need for recreational activities in the village hall. With public transport poor and Strathaven over two miles away, there is a clear need to provide suitable facilities, including carpet bowling, meeting space, provision for fitness classes and workshops, courses, support for local community group including WRI and Senior Circle.
Glassford Community Group facilitated the installation of goalposts and nets in the village park.
We can also confirm that we no longer plan to open a shop or a cafe in the Village Hall for the foreseeable future. This was not deemed to be appropriate as part of establishing the Group as a charity, although we plan to look at options in the future. Following further discussions and taking advice, it was decided that our priorities should be on the other aspects of community life and the development of our core activities.
Community Asset Transfer of Glassford Village Hall.It is likely that in future years and due to further cost cutting within South Lanarkshire Council that the village hall will be closed and sold off. There is a clear desire within the responses to the Community consultation for it to be retained as a community facility. It is used on a regular basis by WRI, Senior Circle and the Masons for meetings and for parties. It is the intention of the Glassford Community Group enable access to all local groups requiring or requesting its use for legitimate purposes. It is also our intention to ensure that costs for hire and use are affordable and that we reflect South Lanarkshire Council charges for similar facilities and buildings, charging no more for the use of the Village Hall. All income generated from hire, events and festivals will be used to support the ongoing sustainability of the Village Hall and also other activities and projects undertaken by Glassford Community Group, based on the identified priorities of the community. It would be our intention to run regular community consultations to ensure that our objectives reflect those of our community.
2019 was a busy year for Glassford Community Group. In January 2019 we had a defibrillator for the village installed at the Glassford Village Hall. In March we held the second Glassford Beer and Gin Festival, now firmly established on the beer festival circuit, attracting over 700 people to the village for a day of live music and beer sampling. After the Big Vern and the Shootahs gig last April, we helped organise a JJ Gilmour Night in the Steayban and supported an evening of American Music for the Strathaven Folk Festival in the village hall.
In October 2019 we submitted our application to become a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and as of January 2020 we are awaiting a decision. We also held a series of meetings with South Lanarkshire Council on an asset transfer of Glassford Village Hall, submitting a formal interest. South Lanarkshire Council is working on what it needs to do to support an application and we are working on the development of a Business Plan.
The Community Group applied to two locations funds successfully during 2019. It applied to the Community Council Micro Grant Scheme for funds to install a Covenanters Information Board at the Graveyard, which should be in place in early 2020. It also applied successfully to the Kype Muir Community Fund for funds to support the purchase of Xmas lights for the village and lights for the village tree. These formed part of a lighting up ceremony in early December followed by a kids movie evening in the village hall.
The Glassford Beer and Gin Festival 2020 will be bigger and better than ever with around 1000 people expected to attend. Other events are planned as is the completion of our Business Plan and a formal application for an asset transfer of the Village Hall. Much to look forward to.