Volunteers are such a vital cog

Celebrating the news that the funding for the leisure and community facility is in place are (left to right): Councillor John McDowall, Councillor Alec Oattes, Peter Linton  Project Manager, Councillor Alec Clark, and SCCL Vice-Chair Ken Johnstone.
Celebrating the news that the funding for the leisure and community facility is in place are (left to right): Councillor John McDowall, Councillor Alec Oattes, Peter Linton  Project Manager, Councillor Alec Clark, and SCCL Vice-Chair Ken Johnstone.

It is that time of year when we look back at events over the past year with a personal and wider view, to judge whether it has been kind to us or in some cases if it has been disappointing.

Locally in Girvan and South Carrick there have been many successful Community events , the most recent being the Girvan Christmas street party.

Also, over the year there have many local galas and events such as the Lowland Gathering, the Ballantrae Food Festival and the Smugglers week of activities.

As many will be aware, the quality of life in rural areas is important, but fragile, due to rural transport, poor broadband coverage and the proposed utility charges for village halls and gala stall hires made as efficiency savings by the council.

However, I was encouraged by the community fightback on these charges in taking forward petitions to the council’s Public Processes Panel, which has now instructed council officers to look again at these proposed savings and work with local communities to address this issue.

As ever, I would like to pay tribute and give thanks to the many local people who serve on community councils and the dozens of other voluntary groups in the area, it is always easy to sit back and make critical comments, but we would all be much poorer if it were not for these community volunteers who give of their time and talents and who contribute so much to local life.

Looking forward, the good news locally is that the Quay Zone, the new leisure facility at Girvan Harbour should be open in time for the Easter weekend.

It has been a long process, but sincere thanks must go to all board members of South Carrick Community Leisure, past and present, who have helped to take this much-needed facility forward.

I am hopeful this will be a shot in the arm for Girvan and South Carrick, with regard to economic development and tourism, which may help to alleviate other public service cutbacks in this current age of austerity.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2017.

At the end of the day, we must all go forward with faith, commitment and optimism for the future.