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4 February 2021

On Tuesday 2 February, Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust hosted his monthly update meeting on Zoom.

Gwilym welcomed everyone to the meeting at 4pm. This was the first Crichton Briefing in 2021 and almost a year since they started. It is hoped that those who attend continue to find the meetings useful.

Key Updates:

Outdoor Space: As our activities remain restricted by the ongoing lockdown, we are pleased to see tenants and visitors still making the most of our outdoor space for their daily exercise and we hope this will continue after the pandemic.

FACTS: We continue to encourage everyone to comply with the FACTS (Face Coverings / Avoid Crowds / Clean hands / Two metres / Self isolate and Test) to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Easterbrook Bistro: Due to the current lockdown, Easterbrook Bistro is currently offering a takeaway service on a daily basis from 11am to 2pm to cover the lunchtime period for visitors, tenants and other essential workers on site.

Easterbrook Hall: Easterbrook Hall remains closed to the public until at least the end of March 2021, but it is still being used to host Council Meetings to support their response to the pandemic when required. Due to the ongoing risks of Covid-19 and current restrictions we are unlikely to host indoor events for some time, with more and more of our Summer bookings being rescheduled to later in the year or into 2022. We will continue to review the position and keep everyone informed of our plans.

Outdoor Events: Despite news of larger festivals being cancelled in 2021, we, and the promoters, remain hopeful that smaller festivals including the Doonhame Festival will take place at The Crichton in July 2021, albeit it with increased safety measures in place. We remain in close contact with the organisers and will be reviewed as necessary.

Challenges: As a Trust, we remain focussed on the long term challenges; ageing society, carbon reduction and climate emergency and the future economy as well as how we recover from the pandemic, which will of course change how we live, work and study forever. We are at risk of losing income from office rentals and events, so we are already reviewing how we can adapt and use the spaces we have to meet changing demands and ensure that we continue to generate the income we need to reinvest in the site and protect the heritage of The Crichton.

Care Campus and Ladyfield: There has been some recent media interest in the future use of the Ladyfield site, which, for a decade or more, has been considered as a site for a 21st Century Village with low carbon housing and intergenerational living. There has been new impetus in the project due to the timely end of our Leader-funded Care Campus Project and the need to consider how we live, work and study in our post-pandemic world. To reassure everyone, the housing would not be located within the boundaries of The Crichton as we know it, but on the Ladyfield site, which connects The Crichton and Dumfries Town Centre, which is becoming known as The Crichton Quarter. The future of the site (owned by D&G Council) and Ladyfield properties (owned by NHS) will depend on the outcome of discussions with partners.

5G Connectivity: The Crichton has taken control of the fibre on site and is likely to be one of 10 new 5G Innovation Hubs in Scotland. It is also possible that The Crichton will become part of the LORaWAN network. Both of these developments could provide exciting new opportunities for learning, research and business in Dumfries & Galloway.

18 Month Plan: The Crichton Trust is in the process of producing a Crichton Manifesto to outline an 18th month plan for The Crichton. This will include new projects and initiatives that will be rolled out over the next five years. The Crichton Trust will remain focussed on protecting the wellbeing of people, place, partners and planet and tailoring how we work to support the physical and mental wellbeing of our people.

Crichton Central: Work is progressing well in Crichton Central, which is looking fantastic with the restored floor and new café area. Pending Covid-19 restrictions, it is now likely to have a phased opening in the Spring. We see Crichton Central as the place to encourage encounters, build relationships and develop partnerships that we hope will lead to some great examples of innovation and creativity. By bringing people together and generating new ideas we will also be contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals as well. Key to all of this is of course partnerships and collaboration.

New Chief Operating Officer: Gwilym introduced and welcomed Craig Renton, new Chief Operating Officer at The Crichton Trust, to the meeting.

Q&A: Further discussion took place around the developments and possibilities of the 5G Hub and the importance of maintaining a partnership approach to the development of the Ladyfield site in order to make the most of the opportunity to develop a living lab rather than a purely commercial venture.

Crichton Conversation: Andrew Walls, Convenor of The Crichton Foundation, shared news of The Crichton Foundation’s forthcoming Crichton Conversation, which take place online on 16 February at 7.30pm and will include a lecture from Hamish McRae regarding the impact of Covid-19 on the world economy. All welcome.

Future Meetings:

CRICHTON BRIEFINGS: The Crichton Briefings will continue to take place on the first Tuesday of every month at 4pm on Zoom. Next meeting: 2 March, 4pm. To join future meetings use the following link:

TENANTS’ FORUMS: A separate meeting for Tenants also takes place on the last Wednesday of every month on Zoom. Details have been circulated to tenants or can be obtained by contacting The Crichton Trust. There is also an opportunity for tenants to share information about their business with other tenants at these meetings, so please let us know if you would like to be included in the programme. Next meeting: 24 February at 11am, which includes an update from The University of Glasgow, Dumfries Campus.

Thank you to everyone who continues to join our meetings.

#TheCrichton #TheCrichtonCommunity #Aplacetobreathe #BuildBackBetter

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