A SELKIRK businessman has unveiled plans for a major community event at Selkirk’s Bannerfield estate next April.
And Kevin Crawford hopes to emulate the success of the carnivals which have proved popular in recent years at Langlee in Galashiels and Burnfoot in Hawick
“I want to give something back to the estate where I was brought up and to celebrate the great spirit there,” said Mr Crawford, who runs an entertainments and catering company.
His decision to run the first Bannerfield Spring Carnival comes after a major public health report highlighted a number of depressing trends at the estate, which is deemed one of the five most disadvantaged communities in the region.
The report, from the region’s director of public health, Dr Eric Baijal, featured in these columns last week, paints a picture of an area with higher than average levels of crime, teenage pregnancies, benefit dependency and drug and alcohol problems.
But the document also stresses the many grass roots initiatives, mainly centred around the school and with guidance from health professionals, to support the estate and its 932 citizens.
“Like the rest of society, things have changed since I was a lad growing up there, but it is still a fantastic place which really needs a shot in the arm and deserves to be celebrated,” said Mr Crawford.
He revealed he had already discussed his plans with Grace Frew, head teacher of Philiphaugh Community School, which will appoint a carnival king and queen.
“Mrs Frew is very supportive of anything which brings the community together and we are also discussing a poster competition for pupils with the winning entry being used to promote the event,” said Mr Crawford.
He added: “There are already successful carnivals at Burnfoot and Langlee in Galashiels [also considered “disadvantaged” in Dr Baijal’s report] and these have proved a great success, so why not have something similar in Bannerfield?”
The event will take place on the football pitch and playpark from 1pm until 11pm on Saturday, April 28. A licensed main marquee will feature live music, while there will be a smaller tent for afternoon teas.
There will a funfair, with bouncy castle, face painting etc, and a range of stalls, selling crafts and specialist foods. Admission will be £4 for adults and free for children under 16.
Anyone seeking information, including potential stallholders, should contact Mr Crawford on 01750 22657 or 07773 434934.
Meanwhile Rob Petrie, of Scottish Borders Council’s community learning and development department, welcomed the initiative.
He said: “The events in Burnfoot in July and Langlee in September were revived seven years and six years ago respectively, and were organised by the community wardens who saw it as a means of galvanising the estates and reducing anti-social behaviour.
“Both carnivals have, with support from the council but mainly through active and dedicated local organising committees, gone from strength to strength.
“I hope the Bannerfield event will, in due course, be equally effective.”