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3 November 2021


Funding from the UK Community Renewal Fund announced today will enable The Crichton Trust to build upon the substantial work carried out to date by the Dumfries and Galloway Care Campus Project, the Sustainable Communities Initiative Project and The Crichton Quarter Development Framework to deliver a route map and investment-ready detailed master plan for The Crichton 21st Century Village (to include The Crichton Estate).

The Crichton Trust has an ambition to deliver a new ambitious model of carbon-neutral, connected, smart, age-friendly living, studying and working that will become an internationally important Living Lab, a world leader in combining smart sensor-enabled living with an intergenerational connected community of 470 adaptable new homes for life.

Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive, The Crichton Trust said: “To have been awarded the largest grant in Scotland is brilliant news for the South of Scotland. This project will convert ambition, detailed research and consultation into a spade and investment-ready project in readiness for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, other public funds and commercial investors next year. Our aim is to develop a whole system deliverable response to the challenges of the climate crisis, our ageing society and emerging technologies.”

The funding will support four concurrent programmes of work:

· MASTERPLAN FOR THE 21ST CENTURY VILLAGE: In partnership with Dumfries and Galloway Council, we will deliver a full and detailed masterplan for The Crichton Quarter/21st Century Village in line with the Local Development Plan 2 which seeks to dovetail the Ladyfield Housing Site into The Crichton Estate. The work will include design options and costing for: housing, a community-owned non-carbon local energy scheme, design, feasibility and costing of a pedestrian and cyclists priority zone for The Crichton Quarter and design considerations for the use of autonomous vehicles and assisting living technologies across what will become a Living Lab Innovation Quarter in partnership with the University of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University. All will benefit from the co-location of Scotland’s first rural 5G Innovation Centre launched on The Crichton this week.

· DEVELOPMENT OF EXISTING CRICHTON BUILDINGS: Development of key assets on the existing Crichton Estate, including a design competition and full costing for replacement of Merrick the former hospital laundry building to construct The Crichton Centre for Memory and Wellbeing a new internationally important home to mental health, wellbeing and arts research and learning. This will include work to support an application for UNESCO Memory of World Status for the important Crichton Royal Archive (in the custodianship of Dumfries and Galloway Council and NHS Dumfries and Galloway); the development of a new purpose built home for SHAX and a Crichton Quarter wide carbon neutral neighbourhood energy scheme to include a mix of hydrogen, solar, ground source and waste to heat capture.

· THE CRICHTON VILLAGE TRADE SKILLS ACADEMY: We will become an exemplar of historic building smart system, low carbon restoration and new housing build. The Crichton Village Trade Skills Academy a partnership project which will see 100 young people gain housing and skills through the construction project.

· COMMUNITY HOME OWNERSHIP AND INVESTMENT: We will help young people secure accommodation and in doing so, support a key building block of community ownership and investment in the new village. In addition, we will test novel models of tenancy and home ownership to support the delivery of an inclusive intergenerational care community at scale.

These four work streams will embed our vision of a place of intergenerational knowledge exchange that supports the diverse community to age well and be physically, socially, culturally, and economically active as long as possible.

Each workstream will include community consultation to ensure that they are co-designed and co-developed with local communities and to ensure that they fully meet the local communities needs and local community members are able to be active partners in the design and delivery of these initiatives.

See background and further updates here.


The South of Scotland will benefit from the largest grant award in Scotland thanks to The Crichton Trust being awarded £979,710 for the 21st Century Village Project.

These funds aim to support key pilot projects that will help aid the recovery from Covid-19 and will empower local communities to address their unique challenges through the development of unique solutions.

· UK Community Renewal Fund 2021-22: This Fund will help support local areas to pilot imaginative new approaches and programmes that unleash their potential, instil pride, and prepare them to take full advantage of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund when it launches in 2022.

· UK Shared Prosperity Fund 2022: Its long term vision, which will be set out in the UK Shared Prosperity Fund Investment Framework, is designed to increase funding for projects that are supporting people and places across the UK, focused on our domestic priorities, growing local economies, and breathing new life into our communities.

About The Crichton

The Crichton, the legacy of Elizabeth Crichton, is an 85-acre parkland estate in Dumfries with landscaped grounds, gardens and arboretum. Formerly known as The Crichton Royal Hospital, the estate has a rich heritage as a world-renowned psychiatric hospital and, to this day, continues to have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of The Crichton Community. It has a multi-institution academic campus and a thriving business park with over 100 tenants including South of Scotland Enterprise. It is also home to Easterbrook Hall, Easterbrook Bistro, Bar and Spa, the

Crichton Memorial Church, Holiday Inn Dumfries and Crichton Central; a new café with a co-working space and Scotland’s first rural 5G hub and testbed. The Crichton is free and accessible to the public 365 days a year and is a beautiful and inspiring place to live, work, study and play. The Crichton Trust manages the estate and aims to connect people, place and the past to shape the future.

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