Residents of New Luce in Dumfries and Galloway have been celebrating the official reopening of the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the village. Like the fate of many pubs The Kenmuir Arms closed its doors five years ago calling time on a social hub for the community.
Using money from the Killgallioch Community Fund, provided by ScottishPower Renewables’ Killgallioch Windfarm, the New Luce Community Trust completely renovated the building, using local contractors, creating local jobs and a much sought-after meeting place for residents and tourists alike.
The Kenmuir Arms is now not only the proud focal point of the village but represents real destination dining with renowned chef Christopher Dougan at the helm using the finest fresh, organic, local produce to elevate home cooked meals into something spectacular. After major renovation of the building, it now boasts a glass-fronted restaurant, snug bar with extensive drinks menu and three beautifully-decorated bedrooms.
Sharon Cameron, Development Officer for New Luce Community Trust, said: “The whole community voted overwhelmingly for us to purchase the pub as a community asset, so we started the process of getting tenders and local contractors and we now have a fantastic building with a restaurant, a snug bar and three bedrooms. It’s an absolute transformation from what it was and it’s a much-loved part of New Luce.”
The Kenmuir Arms is now run by its tenants - a couple (chef and manager) who employ 6 people in the day-to-day running.
Gillian Arnot, Senior Community Liaison Manager at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “New Luce Community Trust have done a fantastic job in maximising the opportunity they have with the regular, reliable income from ScottishPower Renewables’ community benefit from Kilgallioch windfarm. It’s brilliant to see them make the improvements they wanted to breathe new life into the village. We’re dedicated to supporting the communities around our windfarms, and to give them the power to use the funds in the way they want that benefits local people.”
In addition to the restoration of the Kenmuir Arms, the Kilgallioch community benefit fund has also been used to create a community transport scheme, which entitles every household in the village to apply for a pre-paid taxi voucher. With cuts to local bus services, this has enabled villagers who don’t own a car to use local taxis for appointments and errands further afield.
It’s not just the older members of the community who have benefitted from new, improved facilities. The local community council used some of the funding for a play park project to ensure the children were catered for too.
Neale McQuistin Chair of the local community council said, “Thanks to the Killgallioch Windfarm Community Benefit Fund, our shop has been saved and is now a thriving, bustling shop, the village hall is doing great and our new hotel here in New Luce is the jewel in our crown. We also have a fabulous play park – it’s turned into a great asset for the whole of Wigtonshire. Lots of families from Newton Stewart, Stranraer and surrounding towns bring their children to play here – and they may well stay here and have lunch in the hotel, so it’s all beginning to come together – great times ahead for the village of New Luce.”