Barrhill Community Appraisal 2007

The Group
The project was run by the Community Council of Barrhill, a fairly remote rural village with an electoral area of around 300 in the very south of South Ayrshire.

What were they trying to achieve?
Barrhill Community Council wanted to gather evidence of what the community wanted due to declininc economic and social activity.  It commissioned the Horizons Group (the local Economic Development Team) to project manage a survey.  Since the project started the prospect of substantial wind farm community funding has become a strong possibility.

How did they go about it?
Three co-researchers from the community were trained and worked with Horizons.  A viarety of methods were used for identifying issues including leaflets, letters, suggestion boxes and consultation at the local gala day.  These findings were used to design the main questionnaire, which the co-researchers distributed to all households.  A seperate consultation was done in the primary school, using a 'clothesline survey', where children were asked to write or draw what they liked and disliked about the village on cutout T-shirts and pants.  A combination of the main survey and a primary school survey gave total participation of 58 percent.

What did they learn?
The main priorities were for the area to develop as a tourist centre and working community.  The main findings were a need and desire for:

  • tourism development - new path networks, heritage centre, leisure centre for community and tourists
  • youth facilitties - improved recreational facilities, clubs/groups for activities, longer opening hours at local shop, improve play areas
  • environmental improvements - maintain the environment for the future, additional bins in village, flower tubs, improve rundown business areas
  • small business development - improve and develop new tourism businesses, small businesses and small industrial units
  • better retail facilities - longer opening hours, more selection of shops

The report recommended that further research could look at specific topics in more detail, and that the findings should be used to inform an action plan, with community groups taking particular issues forward in partnership with relevant agencies.

What difference did it make?
Following a presentation of the main findings in May 2007, the Community Council began planning how to take forward the priorities.  They have formed an additional constitued group: Barrhill Development Association.  The association intends to reach a consensus within the community and its stakeholders on priorities and a strategy for the future, to create a community action plan and establish working groups to take this work further.  In due course, the association will establish a limited company which will utilise funding from a variety of sources, including wind farm community funding, to finance projects arising from this work.