£3.4 million investment announced for Borders railway corridor
Major funding packages totalling £3.4 million have been secured to revitalise the centre of Gorebridge and turn a disused building at Newtongrange railway station into a community space and bistro.
The Borders Railway Blueprint Programme, set up to maximise the economic opportunities of the line supported by £10 million of Scottish Government money, agreed match funding of £1,038,000 for ‘Gorebridge Connected’ and a further £191,000 for the Newtongrange, Track2Train initiative.
The Blueprint commitments bring the total amount to be invested in both projects from various sources to £3.437 million.
Humza Yousaf Minister for Transport and the Islands said: “The Borders Railway Blueprint Group vision of making Midlothian and the Scottish Borders great places to live, work, learn and visit is bearing fruit. This latest Scottish Government investment at Gorebridge and Newtongrange is clear evidence of this and demonstrates how multi-agency teams can bring transformational change to the communities served by the railway.”
Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for economic development, Councillor Russell Imrie said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to get both of these projects over the line financially. An awful lot of people from both within the council and our partner agencies, including neighbouring authorities along the Borders Railway line and ScotRail, have worked extremely hard to tap into various funding sources.
“We’re keen now to get cracking and get these projects underway for the benefit of our local communities.”
Prepared by the council in partnership with Gorebridge Community Development Trust, Gorebridge Connected will see:
- The former Gorebridge Railway Station House redeveloped into a cafe, gallery and office space, creating 4-5 full time jobs with a year and 10-15 employment opportunities in the two upstairs offices
- Hunter Square enhanced
- The development of a heritage and signage project to connect Hunter Square and Gorebridge train station with other parts of Gorebridge and beyond
The chair of Gorebridge Trust, Stephanie Walker said: “The realisation of the Gorebridge Connected project is wonderful news for the community of Gorebridge.
The Trust set out with a small focus group 2 years ago to consider possibilities for the Station House following the opening of the Borders Railway. Today, the ideas and creativity generated by this committed group of volunteers has come to life and will offer many opportunities for the whole community. Trust looks forward to working with the partners of the project as the project gets underway.”
The council is also working with Track 2 Train, a charity established by, and closely associated with, Apex Scotland to redevelop the Newtongrange station building, currently owned by the ScotRail Alliance.
The hub will be a great community space and, through Apex Scotland, which works with people in the criminal justice system, it will also offer excellent training opportunities for ex-offenders and those at risk of offending.
Lindley Kirkpatrick, the ScotRail Alliance’s Borders Railway Programme Executive said: “The Borders Railway has been a huge success, forging closer links between communities in the Borders and Midlothian, as well creating a wealth of employment and tourism opportunities.
“We’re delighted that these projects will be going ahead, which will create opportunities and change lives here in Midlothian.”
The cafe will create four full time posts and five part time posts initially. Ten traineeship places will also be available with a focus on hospitality, customer service and the food industry.
The cafe will be on the ground floor of the building. Upstairs there will be office space, a learning centre, IT suite and a flexible meeting space for community groups.
The Chief Executive of Apex Scotland, Alan Staff said: “Apex Scotland is committed to providing the best possible opportunities for people to break free from their past and gain excellent employment and employability skills. Track2Train is our second major social enterprise venture joining All Cleaned Up in offering real jobs and on-site training in a commercial setting, a model which we have seen deliver great results. We are so excited by the potential of the Newtongrange initiative not only in improving the life chances of those we work with but also enhancing the community and providing a valuable service to all.”