Chairperson Senga Mason presented her first annual report saying, “This time last year, at the Annual General Meeting, Maybole Community Association was on the brink of folding due to no-one being prepared to take on office bearers positions.”
She continued, “Following an Extraordinary General Meeting, many people came forward to try to save the Association; new office bearers were put in place, and the new Committee steamed ahead to start arranging various events which would be held in the town.
“This was a new venture for many and a learning curve for everyone.
“The first thing on our agenda was to take the charity shop at the beginning of May and throughout the week the Association raised the sum of £ 715.86. The proceeds from the shop were put towards the cost of the Gala Day which was held on the last Saturday in June.
“The new Committee took many tasks on board to arrange the Gala and many hurdles had to be overcome.
“Feedback from people who attended on the day were very positive and the negative comments which we received were for things which were beyond our control.
“It goes without saying that our knight in shining armour on the day had to be John Jamieson, without his help and support we would really have struggled on the day to get everything set up and also for the bunting to be hung on the High Street and Crosshill Road.
“All the stalls were booked and additional gazebos had to be put in place to accommodate more stall holders.
“The Duncan tiles were on display and this was the first time that many local people had seen them since the Co-operative closed.
“There were lots happening on the field, the only age group which we have to consider this year is the teenagers as there was really nothing for them to do.
“Special thanks also to David Kiltie for stepping in at short notice to compere the Gala and also Audioclass and Goodfellows who provided live entertainment free of charge.
“In August, the Association took over the charity shop again, and learning by our mistakes in May the sum raised was £985.32; these funds were put towards the Christmas Bazaar and Light switch on.
“At the Remembrance Day parade a wreath was laid on behalf of the Association.
“The Committee decided that rather than having an afternoon for the Christmas Lights being switched on and then a morning the following week for the bazaar, that this year we would incorporate both the bazaar and the Christmas Light switch on into one day.
“The day started with the bazaar in the morning and Santa Claus arrived in style by walking up the High Street, led by Maybole Pipe Band. His grotto on the stage was amazing and many parents remarked how special their visit to Santa had been.
“Twenty-three stalls were taken up at the Bazaar, with no bottle stalls in site and what a variety of things we had and there was certainly something for everyone.
“In the afternoon, the local school children performed which was followed by a disco for under 12s with everyone gathering outside the Town Hall for the Christmas Light switch on.
“The weather, to say the least, was awful but to be fair to the people of Maybole they supported us by turning out on one of the wettest nights of the winter.
“Maybole Pipe Bank led Santa in his sleigh with the King and Queen, Eddie Glass, the Provost and Councillors to the Town Hall.
Special thanks to Mark Fletcher for compering the entertainment and the light switch on.
“The King and Queen and the Provost were given the honour of switching on the lights.
“Following the receipt of a grant of £300 from North Carrick Community Benefit Company, solar lights were purchased to put lights in the Town Hall Garden. Unfortunately due to the lack of daylight, this particular year was a disaster but they are there for future years.
“The Nativity Scene was placed in the garden this year but due to high winds and storms it continually blew down and we had no option but to keep the garden closed as it became a health and safety issue.
“In a competition being run by Digital Scotland, the Association won an 8foot Christmas tree for the Town Hall which will be an asset to the decorations within the hall in future years.
The Community Council and the Community Association also joined partnership in an application to the Scottish Government to improve a green space within our town. The only area which met the criteria was the Town Hall Garden and we were successful with our bid of £74,000.
“This area can only be an asset to our town and will provide a space in the centre of town where local people and tourists will be able to go in and sit down and relax. The Duncan Tiles from the old Co-op will be displayed in the garden which will also attract visitors to our town.
“While this has been a partnership with the Community Council, the Association are indebted to Mark Fletcher who has project managed this from the beginning and has done a sterling job. Going forward the garden will be looked after by the ommunity and many groups have agreed to join in this venture.
“The Association would not have been successful throughout this year had it not been for the support of the local people, the Hall keepers in Maybole Town Hall, Carrick Round Table, Maybole Pipe Band, John Jamieson and many, many more.
“Personally, I would like to thank the Committee who have all worked together to ensure that we did the best we could do as volunteers to make the Gala and the Christmas event successful.
“There are two ladies who are not on the Association but who have been prepared to give up their valuable time to support the staffing in the charity shop, namely Margaret Kiltie and Marion McClung; thank you ladies and the Association needs more people like you.”
Summing up, she said, “Yes, when I look back over the year, it has been one huge learning curve for me; mistakes were made, but at the same time we achieved some remarkable things and going forward I see 2016 being bigger and better than 2015.
“And now to the future. What do we have to look forward to? The opening of the Town Hall Gardens, entertainment for the gardens on a regular basis throughout the summer and this is something which will have to be dealt with asap, the Charity shop in May and also in August, Gala Week, Christmas Bazaar and Light Switch on.
“We have a busy year ahead of us.”