Our History

Neilston HistoryClick on a year below to find out how we got to where we are now!





2003 >

NESTA fellowship awarded to local resident, Pauline Gallacher; stimulates a project proposal on how Neilston works spatially and socially and how it could be revitalised by grassroots action

2004 >

Series of public meetings as part of NESTA programme.


First public activity – at Neilston Show


Funds accessed to enable 2 year programme of community consultation and participation events


Walking the Neilston Way – residents walk to explore the village


Space to Live developed as a direct result of the enthusiasm for the NESTA proposal. Set up to 'develop and champion the implementation of a community based public space strategy of exemplary design quality based on local life and needs'.

2005 >

Space to Live set up as a Company Ltd by Guarantee and registered charity


Survey of Neilston residents carried out in 2005 at Neilston show.


Ideas shop, June 2005. The Ideas Shop was a one-day workshop with the emphasis on capturing people's response to Neilston as it is now, and brainstorming on ideas for its future. It began with a contribution from the International Futures Forum and took the form of 'appreciative enquiry' what is good and valuable and worth building on in the life and place of Neilston


Evening meetings for the community led by leading experts on aspects of spatial design provided opportunities to explore key issues. Brian Evans of Gillespies, a firm which has been involved in major urban design projects in Scotland and internationally, and Ben Hamilton-Baillie, a leading exponent of the concept of 'shared space' and advisor to the InterReg programme of the European Union on this new method for managing people and traffic


First Neilston Live! Festival


The Big Do weekend, November 2005: international community workshop led by the office of Jan Gehl, world-renowned practice specialising in interactions of people and place. This provided opportunities for residents to reflect on patterns of life in Neilston, to map their spatial configuration and consider what projects could be undertaken to improve and intensify interaction at identified 'hub' points, e.g. the station, the shops


November 2005. Announcement of closure of only bank in Neilston. Community campaign against closure was unsuccessful


2006 >

  • The work to buy the bank under Community Right to Buy started. The process involved community engagement, community petitions and a full community ballot to the strictest standards (with 1100 people voting, 97% in favour of the purchase).
  • NDT established. Board of the NDT are all members of the local community


    Scottish Ministers gave their approval to purchase, making Neilston only the fourth community in Scotland to that date to complete the Community Right to Buy process.

    Bank bought thanks to a grant from Big Lottery: Growing Community Assets


    Second Neilston Live! Festival


    Community survey to assist with building a case to fight the threat of closure of the Leisure Centre and assess demand for new services


    Architecture and Design Scotland become involved to help build the case for a Regeneration Masterplan

2007 >

  • Early work carried out in the Bank, including the installation of a kitchen.

  • First Bank open day

  • Community organisations start to use the bank as a base for activities

  • Third Neilston Live! Festival

  • Barrhead Housing Association / East Renfrewshire Adult Learning research work to explore local learningneeds and aspiration and perceptions of Neilston and the Trust

  • Work on NDT business plan starts

  • East Renrewshire Council accept the need for a Regeneration Masterplan and start to promote it throughNeilston Village Regeneration Group

2008 >

  • Think Tank – involving a number of experts in the area of local regeneration and the board, identifying and learning about areas of good practice.

  • Glasgow University Study carried out. A short research project by Professor Ronan
    Paddison of Glasgow University, interviewing key community players and members of
    groups to gather perceptions of life in Neilston, its strengths and weaknesses and
    respondents' views of themselves as local volunteers and activists. Perceptions of the
    Bank and NDT were also sought.

  • NDT Business plan completed and separate business plan for Bank building started
    Significant presence at Neilston Agricultural Show.

  • Funding is granted for a two year Volunteer co-ordinator position

2009 >

  • Neilston's Renaissance Town Charter, is published. The culmination of 5 years' work in stimulating debate about the future of the village. This process involved significant partners (Architecture and Design Scotland, the Development Trust Association Scotland, the Urban Lab at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the Lighthouseand SUST) and championed by East Renfrewshire Council. The Town Team is now anew locus for community engagement and grassroots ownership of the Neilston Charter, a vision document for the next 20 years.

  • Initiation of plans for a jointly owned small windfarm on the outskirts of the village, which, if consented, will bring considerable revenues to Neilston and the Trust in years to come.

  • The appointment of a team of Powerdown Officer funded by the Climate
    Challenged Fund. Intensive engagement with residents undetaken with sizeable
    reduction on CO2 emissions as our target.

2010 >

  • Architects and design team appointed for refurbishment of the Bank

  • A gardening club commences at the bank with the aim of developing a local food growing programme

  • Over 1000 people attend Neilston up for Powerdown in Pig Square and enjoyed a ceilidh, torchlit procession and a range of environmentally friendly activities
    Commencement of the "Neilston Conversation"; a series of informal interviews led by volunteers with over 60's in the village. The aim was to inform how the delivery of care in the village to seniors is delivered in years to come.

  • A total funding package of over £700,000 is confirmed for refurbishment of the Bank and for a funded three year revenue project to develop the facility and its services

  • December 2010 – The Bank café closes for the last time before refurbishment

  • NDT Trading Ltd is established to support NDT's trading activities

  • Crofthead Concerts brings a number of international calibre traditional, folk, roots and blues artists to the village to perform

2011 >

Community Powerdown programme comes to its conclusion. Over 1000 people benefited from a range of services, including Home Energy Checks. Carbon Footprinting profiles, increased uptake of the Energy Assistance Package. Workshops were held on domestic renewables, food waste, and a schools programme was also delivered.

Planning approval is granted for a 4 turbine community windfarm on the outskirts of the village

Appointment is made of the Bank Development Manager responsible for overseeing the development of the Bank post-refurbishment


Work commences on the Bank in January


The Bank reopens to the public in December 2011 with an event attend by over 500 people

The Cowdenhall Community Research project is completed by volunteer researchers, under the auspices of Scottish Natural Heritage, a small piece of work in resource terms but immensely important as a starting point for the future conservation of Cowdenhall.


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