Tourist information hub plan for Gala

A GALASHIELS businesswoman has appealed to businesses in the town to support her plans for an information hub.

Lynda Stoddart is aiming to open the centre within six months if she gains the backing of Galaleans and shops in the town.

Mrs Stoddart said: “My intention is to create the facility with a community bias. The project aims to enhance and promote the greatness of the largest town in the Borders through integration with the current infrastructure and positive ethos of the community.

“Right now there are plenty of things to do in and around the town but tourists, and even locals, aren’t getting the chance to experience this to its full potential because in a number of cases the attractions simply aren’t promoted properly.”

The town’s community council has previously voiced concerns over the lack of information available for tourists in Galashiels.

It said visitors had advised that the information point in the library was hard to find.

There were also complaints that an information board on the edge of Galashiels and a map outside the library on Lawyer’s Brae were out of date.

All tourist information centres in the region were under review due to public funding cuts, but Scottish Borders Council said that it hoped to improve the displays alongside VisitScotland.

Sandi Hellowell, regional director of VisitScotland, has argued that the information point in the library is a “great opportunity” for businesses to promote themselves.

But Mrs Stoddart hopes her hub will led to an increase in visitor numbers for Galashiels.

“It will aim to enhance the sense of pride within the town by providing insight into the history and heritage of Galashiels as well as promoting local products,” said Mrs Stoddart.

“The economic sustainability will be supported by the retailing of images and postcards of the area, together with quintessential Scottish merchandise.

“The centre will aim at promoting the local attractions and activities to visitors, which in turn will enhance the economic viability of the town.”

A working group has been set up by Mrs Stoddart to explore the opportunities and functionality of the information centre in Galashiels, with a site already identified.

She told us: “With the Waverley Rail Line returning, this is a great time to capitalise on the number of people coming to this part of the Scottish Borders.

“I am encouraging local businesses to get on board with the project, as this would offer an excellent opportunity for them to promote their own products and service.

“Galashiels, in my opinion, is a sleeping giant. Where there is a will, there is a way and a proper, stand-alone information centre will help realise the town’s full potential.”

For more information, visit infohubgala@yahoo.com or search for the Galashiels Information Hub on facebook.