Fund your what if idea in Girvan

Pearl McGibbon.
Pearl McGibbon.

What if...Girvan, a social enterprise programme aiming to help local people to set up enterprises that make a positive difference in the area, has opened for its second round of applications.

Launched in 2016 by social enterprise agency Firstport, the programme is already supporting five local people to develop their ideas, which include an indoor farmers market, art workshops for young people and an import coffee business.

What if...Girvan is again inviting local people to come up with ideas that could benefit the area by responding to calls to action: celebrating the local heritage; producing and consuming locally; getting people active and healthy, and more. Successful applicants get access to a programme of support to develop their ideas, as well as seed funding.

One of the participants, Pearl McGibbon from Barrhill, applied last year with a long-held idea to set up and run a weekly, indoors farmers market in Girvan.

Having produced a range of jams and chutneys as well as Harris Tweed goods for many years, Pearl realised that a regular farmers market would be a great opportunity to showcase the great produce and crafts that the area has to offer.

Since applying, Pearl has benefited from one to one business support, as well as group training and funding. Her hard work has paid off and she is now ready to run the first market on Good Friday 14 April, and weekly thereafter.

Pearl said: “The support I have received through the programme has given me the tools and confidence to get my idea off the ground. I have always felt that the area would really benefit from a weekly market and the response from local producers and consumers has been overwhelmingly positive so far, which is very encouraging”. Applications are open between 3 April and 29 May. More information is available on the Firstport website.

Karen McGregor, Chief Executive of Firstport, said: “We would encourage anyone harbouring an idea to get in touch or attend one of our upcoming events.”