Members felt that the town was losing heart with the downturn in the fishing industry and lack of inward investment, transport links and such like.
As a result of these concerns, a number of public meetings were called all of which produced a really good attendance and lots of ideas.
In order to keep the momentum going, a committee of nine was formed whose aims and objectives, based on the input from the public meetings, were:
• raising funds and sponsoring local groups and charities
• encouraging volunteering and local improvement projects
• organising festivals, events and other opportunities to promote Eyemouth & District
• co-ordinating with all local groups and charities to support them and liaising with Eyemouth Community Council
• practising good governance and following participatory and non-discriminatory principles.
Co-opted on to the main committee are SNP MSP Paul Wheelhouse and East Berwickshire Councillor Michael Cook and committee members also co-ordinate three sub committees for festivals and events; fundraising and volunteers.
Backed by the enthusiasm of local residents, to date the Group has worked with, among others, the reconvened Eyemouth Chamber of Trade, the Eyemouth Town Community Council, Eyeskate, Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival Committee and the Social Enterprise Academy.
So far the Initiative Group has supported Eyeskate Committee’s Firework event by undertaking the collection; the Festivals and Events sub committee organised a full day of activities for the Sunday of the Eyemouth Herring Queen Festival last July; helped check out Eyemouth’s existing Christmas lights and is about to undertake a full social enterprise training programme run by the Social Enterprise Academy.
The group will also participate fully in discussions about the implementation of the new European Fisheries Fund designated to support the sustainable development of fisheries areas.
Paul Wheelhouse commented: “I really welcome the formation of the Initiative and I am honoured to have been invited to join the steering group. The area has lacked a voice in regeneration terms since the loss of the Eyemouth and East Berwickshire Partnership (EEBP) team.
“The Initiative is an open and, in many respects, organic group at the moment and it will evolve further with time and as ideas emerge. At some point in the future I believe it could form the basis for a new development trust for the area to allow it to take advantage of funding streams that facilitate asset ownership, if its members seek to do this. However, the very fact this group exists at all will be a huge help to those of us who represent the community in seeking to engage positively with local people and to help them regenerate the town and wider district.
Eyemouth Initiative Group’s informal open evening will take place at the Fishermen’s Mission on Harbour Road on February 28 from 7-8.30pm.