Muirkirk Enterprise Group - MEG
At the Annual General Meeting of Muirkirk Enterprise Group held in June 2008, the following office bearers were elected:-
- Chairman - Mr James P Currie
- Vice Chair - Mr William D Kirk
- Treasurer - Mr David Ashcroft
- Secretary - Mrs Marjorie Currie
- Environmental Chair - Mr Wlliam D Kirk
- Environmental Vice-Chair - Mr Sam Hillditch
- Chair of Walking Festival - Mr William D Kirk
- Museum Curator - Mrs Stephanie Essex
Items which were discussed during the 2008 AGM included:-
- Mr I Smith produced a document showing the buildings around the village which have been lying derelict for a number of years together with some untidy spaces. The aim of the document is to put some pressure on East Ayrshire Council and, if necessary, the Scottish Government, to help tidy up the village. It has been noted that major improvements are going on in Cumnock, Auchinleck and New Cumnock and it is imperitive that Muirkirk is not left out of this process.
- Full reports on the Walking Festival and the John Lapraik Weekend were given by Billy Kirk and Douglas McKenzie respectively.
- Alison and Verity Meakin reported that the Dog Show had once again been successful and it was noted that the Chairman's dog Coppe had at last received a prize by winning the waggiest tail entry!
Muirkirk Enterprise Group (MEG) was set up in 1999 with the aim of regenerating
Muirkirk which was, at one time, labelled the most socially deprived village
in Scotland. The ongoing aim of MEG is to regenerate the whole village
community to provide sustainability, respect and hope for the village
for future generations.
Issues MEG had to address
Muirkirk is a rural village set in the border of East Ayrshire and South
Lanarkshire with a population of around 1800. At one time Muirkirk was
a hive of industry with coalmining, rail connections and ironworks.
The demise of the mines brought widespread unemployment and the village
suffered from relatively high levels of poverty. Muirkirk was rated as
one of the most deprived areas of Scotland by the Scottish
Index of Multiple Deprivation 2003. At that time the village experienced
an unemployment rate of 30 per cent.
MEG identified a number of local issues in consultation with the local
community. These included:
- A lack of community facilities including provision for young people
- A need for local training for work
- A need for encouragement to seek work
- A need to improve the local environment
- The need to regenerate the local economy and attract inward investment.
MEG's approach to the issues
Muirkirk Enterprise Group designed and developed a large number of projects
to improve the physical appearance of the village, encourage tourists
and visitors, increase employment opportunities, improve community safety
and create a community where people want to live.
Projects and developments include:
- Two community plantations
the Kirk plantation and the Community Plantation which are
managed by East
Ayrshire Woodland. These are complemented by a large number of paths
- Two heritage parks
with murals depicting the history of Muirkirk.
- Three totem poles
depicting different aspects of community life. The pole in the centre
of the village depicts the past industrial life of the village and another
is the result of a competition by the local school and depicts Muirkirk
through the eyes of our young people.
- An audio tour guide of the village
the first of it’s kind in Scotland – which allows visitors
to explore the village and it’s rich history at their own pace.
- Two walks brochures
promotin the series of walks
prepared within the village.
- An Environmental Plastic Greenhouse
cared for by local school children. The local primary school
have also formed a gardening class to allow them to grow plants for
the greenhouse and heritage parks.
- A bothy and bird hide
at the side of Glenbuck Loch and a further bothy at the Walker’s
- The establishment of a caravan park
with plans to build chalets to boost tourist accommodation.
- The refurbishment of buildings
including accommodation for the Scottish Coal headquarters,
a beautician, a new fish and chip shop and a bakers shop. Muirkirk Enterprise
Group also provide accommodation for a weekly Citizens Advice Bureau,
a Job Action Team which has been highly successful in helping people
access work and training courses for PSV and HGV licences, and support
for travelling to work outwith the village.
- Support for a diverse range of groups and activities within
including a local learning group for anyone who wishes to learn
new computer skills and a snooker club attracting young people.
- An outdoor sports complex
designed and built by the Muirkirk Enterprise Group, with facilities
for tennis, volleyball, netball and basketball. Managed by East Ayrshire
Council use of the facility has quadrupled in the past 12 months with
many people travelling from outwith the village to use the facilities.
- Construction of a skate board park
designed and operated in consultation with local young people
- Dry Stane Dyke Projects (August 2007)
Muirkirk Enterprise Group has been awarded Big Lottery funding for dry stane dyke projects opposite the cemetery and beside the Kirk Plantation.
Evidence of success
- Muirkirk is now a place where people want to live
a few years ago it was almost impossible to sell houses in the area,
now all houses that are on the market are sold almost immediately.
- In 2003, 30 per cent of the population was unemployed, by 2005 this
figure had fallen to 10 per cent.
- The local crime rate has dropped dramatically in recent years.
- It is anticipated that in 2006 around 5000 tourists will visit Muirkirk
to see the various attractions
- Muirkirk’s regeneration has attracted private investment with
a building project by Strathclyde Homes. It is expected that building
projects will start on the 11 plots in this project over the coming
months. A number of other house building projects are at various stages
- In 1999 Muirkirk won the Scottish Calor Gas Community of the Year
Award for Community Life.
- In 2000 Muirkirk was highly commended in both the Business and Elderly
sections of the Scottish Calor Gas Awards.
- In December 2005 Muirkirk was commended in the Environment, Business
and Older People categories of the Calor
Scottish Community of the Year Awards
- In November 2006 Muirkirk was commended in the Communications category of the Calor
Scottish Community of the Year Awards
Setting up the project
Muirkirk Enterprise Group was started as an offshoot from Muirkirk Community
Council in an effort to regenerate Muirkirk. Most of the Community Councillors
are members of the group, which was formed after a public meeting, and
the group is composed of all sections of the community and all meetings
are advertised and open to any members of the public to attend.
In the first instance, the group leased an empty East Ayrshire Council
building for £1 a year inviting the East Ayrshire Action Team to
come into the building and form a learning group to train people in computer
The group is fully involved in partnership working with many public and
private organisations including East Ayrshire Council, Scottish Natural
Heritage, Scottish Coal, East Ayrshire Woodlands and Scottish Enterprise
- Every time someone said we couldn’t do it we did it! Keep going
in the face of criticism and soon you will see results.
- Anything can be achieved with some imagination, partnership working
and the motivation of a community looking for change.
Muirkirk Enterprise Group
28 Main Street
Muirkirk KA18 3RA