History of the Beith Trust
Beith Trust aims to improve the health and mental fitness of the community through the regeneration of social, environmental, financial and physical assets. Our mission is to create new conditions which equip our community with the skills and resources needed to thrive
Founded on research
In 2012 Beith Trust began a process to capture the experience of growing up, working and living in Beith in the 21st century. It took over 18 months to complete and highlighted a strong sense of pride and connection to past community success.
Local people spoke fondly of local places and special buildings they held close to their hearts, however, threaded through this community narrative were negative feelings about the present and fears for the future.
Finding a new identity in the 21st Century
At one time the town held a world-renowned reputation for the production of high-quality furniture which was exported globally, within living memory a large proportion of the community were highly skilled employees in a world-class industry, these days Beith is more often referred to as ‘just a dormitory town’ – as if people just sleep there and live their lives elsewhere.
The rise of out-of-town shopping malls providing a glitzy one-stop consumer experience has increasingly drawn residents and their purses away from our town centre to consume mass-produced goods, products, amenities and experiences. Over the years this condition has manifested itself in a slow but persistent cycle of decline in our town centre, which can be seen today in the variety and quality of amenities, recreation, learning and employment opportunities in the town.
The community buyout of Geilsland Estate in 2015 presented a huge opportunity for the people of Beith; a chance to redesign their future, build on the potential presented at Geisland Estate and create a new vision for the future. Beith Trust has repostioned Geilsland Estate as a ‘Gateway to North Ayrshire’ – a community asset which entices visitors and residents to stop and linger in Geilsland, Beith and the wider Garnock Valley, spending their time and money as consumers of local produce, goods, recreation and amenities. Geilsland Estate now supports the delivery of a diverse range of activities, enterprise opportunities and initiatives which enable local people to learn and progress as active informed contributors within their own life and within community life. This approach facilitates a dynamic progressive environment which creates and retains ‘wealth’ – financially, socially, environmentally and culturally. Check out our dedicated Geilsland Estate website here.
A fresh opportunity for Beith
A huge opportunity had arisen for the people of Beith to redesign their communities’ future through a community buyout of the Geilsland Campus. Beith Trust and the community have proven the campus can and will be re-positioned as a ‘Gateway to North Ayrshire’ – a community asset that entices visitors and residents to stop and linger in Geilsland, Beith and the wider region, spending their time and money as consumers of local produce, goods, recreation and amenity. Geilsland Campus supports the delivery of a range of activities, opportunities and initiatives that create the conditions that enable local people to learn and develop as active informed contributors and confident actors within their own lives and within community life – enabling a dynamic progressive environment that creates and retains wealth locally in the widest possible sense – financially, socially, environmentally and culturally.
We believe that by creating these conditions we have begun a process that re-positions our local economy away from a reliance on inward investment from external sources which we have no power to influence, towards a generative economy that re-invests in people and place, we have created jobs, new enterprise and local entrepreneurship. This development has also provided possibilities for new methods of collaborative working and service delivery. This facilitates a shift away from top-down methods of development to a grassroots holistic mode of regeneration which creates capacity for the transfer of assets, services and responsibility to community-led anchor organisations.
Beith Trust believes the impact of this investment in the potential of the communities of the Garnock Valley will reverse the economic, social and environmental decline seen over the last 3 decades.