Reasons to be positive

chairman of Carrick Community Councils’ Forum, Peter Mason, was pleased with the reaction at the Carrick Tourism Strategy Group - and believes the strength in the area will lead to success.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Mason commented on tourism projects that are either happening or are about to happen in Carrick.

He said, “Several of the presentations talked about things that people are already doing to try to increase visitor numbers in Carrick. That includes the ongoing work to develop and market the Carrick Way, work on a Pilgrims’ Trail with Crossraquel Abbey at its centre, work to raise the profile of Sawney Bean’s cave, and many more.

“The Forum itself has just started a short project with funding from Leader and South Ayrshire Council’s Rural Panel.

“That will produce a database of accommodation and other tourist businesses in Carrick. We’ll use the database to increase communication and co-operation within the tourism sector.

“Just as importantly, we’ll use it to underpin the next tourism project that we have planned. We want to work with individual towns and villages in Carrick to identify icons specific to each community.

“Then we’ll work with local artists to design and install artworks in each place and then we’ll encourage people to come to Carrick and to visit all of the icons.”

“My overall impression from the meeting is that we have plenty of good ideas and projects in Carrick.

“We’ve got lots of energy in the Forum and in individual communities and we’ve got resources in the shape of windfarm community benefit funds to match potential Leader and other funding.

“The people from our communities were saying very clearly that they’re happy to work with initiatives at the Ayrshire level.

“We’re happy to fit in with higher level strategies and brands. At the same time, the community won’t sit back and wait for higher level partnerships to come to us. Our people need the jobs that will come from increased tourism.”