HIGHLIGHTS FROM TENANTS’ FORUM MEETING ON 27 JULY:
Our last Tenants’ Forum took place on Wednesday 27 July on Teams and was hosted by Sarah-Jane Burns, Business Community Development Manager at The Crichton Trust. Thanks to those who joined us and for those who couldn’t make it this month, you can find the highlights below:
INTRODUCTIONS: Sarah-Jane welcomed everyone to the meeting and invited anyone attending for the first time to introduce themselves.
THEME: Active Travel
SPEAKERS: Jim O’ Neill and Jennifer Challinor, The Crichton Trust
THEMED UPDATES AND DISCUSSIONS:
The discussion started with Active Travel Plans for The Crichton and efforts to reduce reliance on cars as a primary mode of transport. Jim also shared details of the Scottish Government’s Active Travel Strategy and their aim to encourage planning teams to put active travel infrastructure eg. cycle paths and walking routes higher up their agenda. Jim discussed the physical and mental health and wellbeing benefits of active travel, as well as the social and environmental benefits and their ambition to make active travel an integral part of their master plan for the nearby Ladyfieldsite.
Questions were asked about how much of a priority active travel is for The Crichton and how it would be actioned and resourced. Jennifer outlined the Trust’s commitment to be Net Zero by 2030 and shared examples of a number of initiatives that have already been implemented eg. cycling festival, cycling racks and charging points, shower provision, support of walking and cycling groups etc, as well as the ambitious plans for the Ladyfield site where active travel is a big priority. Jennifer also referred to partnership initiatives to refurbish bikes and make them affordable/accessible to those who need them, including students.
A discussion also took place around the need to improve connectivity with the town centre and the need for The Crichton to be better served by public transport. Tenants spoke about the recruitment challenges they have faced as a result of poor transport links and known challenges for students, businesses and their clients . It was acknowledged that bus services had reduced during the pandemic and that bus and train times did not match up. Those present were keen to work with partners and the local Council to find solutions and to explore the demand and feasibility of a jointly funded collaborative service if required. Jennifer also referred to the potential to test autonomous vehicles on site and mentioned that a mapping exercise to identify demand and gaps in provision had been done pre-Covid and although things have changed since then and seasonal variances, but still provides some useful insights. Jim also referred to the Council’s recent bid to improve the accessibility of electric vehicles, public transport services and hubs (Submitted at Council meeting in June, outcome pending) – Scottish Government Active Travel Strategy and D&G Council Funding Bid – Agenda Item 6 – Transport Bid.
Tenants present also raised a lack of affordable accommodation as a barrier for recruiting staff and students and a lack of short-term accommodation locally also limits partnership opportunities with colleagues from out with the area. Jim confirmed awareness of accommodation challenges and shared details of the Ladyfield Project and the Housing Survey that has just been carried out to identify demand for housing.
Walk and Talk: Informal Walk and Talksessions for tenants, colleagues, members and partners take place at Crichton Central on every second Wednesday of each month. See photographs below from recent strolls. Next one is 10 August. Contact Sarah-Jane.
Coffee and Chat: Drop-in Coffee and Chat sessions for tenants, colleagues, members and partners will start at Crichton Central on the first Tuesday of each month. Next one is Tuesday 6 September from 10-11am. Contact Sarah-Jane.
ASKS: D&G LGBT+ are delivering free Awareness Training for businesses and organisations. If you are looking to raise your awareness and gain some basic advice and information on LGBTQ+ rights and the history behind the movement and to make your business a safe space for LGBTQ+ customers, thencontact Iain to be kept up to date with future training sessions. AOCB: Jacquie from UoG advised those present that Professor Carol Hill steps down from her role as Head of School of Interdisciplinary Studies in Dumfries this week. Professor Fabrice Renaud will take up the role and will be invited to join a future meeting. NEXT TENANTS’ FORUM: 31 August at 11am on Teams and will be a general update, so an opportunity for tenants to provide updates, share news, asks and successes. The theme of the September meeting is Partnerships. CRICHTON BRIEFING: The next Crichton Briefing is scheduled for Tuesday 6 September at 4pm and will take the form of a Video Update from the Chief Executive and will be posted on our blog and social channels.
SCHEDULE FOR 2022: See full schedule of meeting dates below. Click here for dates and meeting themes in 2022.
TENANTS’ FORUMS: Tenants’ Forums are about making connections and are a great way to get to know fellow tenants. They are a platform in which to share information, news, ideas and opportunities between The Crichton Community. Tenants will receive an email/diary appointment from The Crichton Trust with a link to the meeting. If you have any queries please call 01387 247544.
CRICHTON BRIEFINGS: As well as Tenant Forums’ we also host quarterly Crichton Briefings hosted by Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive of The Crichton Trust. They are intended to provide an overview of ongoing developments and projects at The Crichton and usually take the form of a video update.
Please join us if you can and please invite your colleagues to join us too – the more the better.