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‘This is just the beginning!’

A COMMUNITY project to transform Dumfries town centre celebrated its fifth anniversary at the weekend.

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By Zac Hannay
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‘This is just the beginning!’
CELEBRATION . . . Members and supporters of Midsteeple Quarter Community Benefit Society gathered in Dumfries on Saturday

The Midsteeple Quarter marked half a decade of transformational people power in Dumfries with a special birthday bash on Saturday where members and supporters marked the milestone and highlighted their hopes for the future.

Guests included the Provost of Dumfries, councillor Maureen Johnstone. Passers-by also called in to find out more, while Dumfries poet Joe McGurk, a Midsteeple Quarter board member, read a poem written especially for the occasion.

Since originating on April 7, 2018, the organisation has become a pivotal player in the creation of a stronger future for Dumfries town centre. Midsteeple Quarter has taken five formerly neglected buildings in the High Street into community ownership – with a plan to transform them into new homes and enterprise spaces. The first phase of that is coming to life at the former Baker’s Oven – 135-139 High Street – which is due for completion early next year.

AMBITIONS . . . Midsteeple Quarter director Dion Corbett with the drawing she created to depict the project’s ambitions

Among those who joined in the celebrations hosted in 109 High Street was Dumfries architect Dion Corbett, a longterm supporter of Midsteeple Quarter who now sits on its board of directors. She first became involved in the project while working with The Stove Network.

Dion said: “This has grown from a seed of an idea among a group of visionary people. To see it becoming reality on the scale it has in a such a short space of time is beyond what anyone could have expected.”

Chairman Peter Kormylo added: “Given that so much has been achieved in a relatively short space of time, it’s hard to believe that the society is only five years old.

“We’re incredibly proud of what the people of Dumfries have achieved – and it’s great to take a breath and celebrate that. But what’s even more exciting is that this is just the beginning.

“Over the years ahead – with the continued support of townsfolk and others – we will gradually transform Midsteeple Quarter, creating a vibrant new High Street community. A place where more people will live, work and visit.”

Celebrations took place on what was a busy day in the High Street with The Guild Dumfries also launching the new season of the Dumfries Makers Market, with more than 20 makers, artists and food and drink producers taking part with stalls. The regular Dumfries Market was also taking place.

As well as 135-139 High Street, Midsteeple Quarter owns 109 High Street, 111 High Street, The Smithy, The Press and 51 Bank Street.

As part of the birthday celebrations, Midsteeple Quarter is entering all of its members into a free prize draw, with two gift cards to spend in Flourish up for grabs. New members have until April 28 to sign up and become eligible to be entered. Find out more at www.midsteeplequarter.org.

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