Since taking over the building from the council on 26 May 2016 our team of volunteers have provided the Netherthird area with a meeting place for all.
Netherthird Initiative for Community empowerment was established in 2016 as a charity social enterprise. Our group was formed because East Ayrshire Council was going to sell or knockdown Netherthird Community Centre. In May 2016 we signed a lease for 25 years and we have been managing Netherthird Community Centre since then.
The group is run by a voluntary board, a centre development officer, part time staff and volunteers from the local community with the main aim to ensure that the much needed facility continues to be available for all groups and residents within the immediate and surrounding area.
We are looking to increase our engagement in the local community and maintain and increase the services that we provide. We will do this by focussing on reducing social isolation and loneliness in our community. We are aiming for this to be a visible flagship project in our community encouraging people to make a positive change in the community and beyond.
Netherthird Initiative for Community Empowerment (N.I.C.E.) was established in an effort to improve our village which was suffering from vandalism, lack of activities and lack of recreational facilities. To make this happen we took control of our local community centre which was in danger of closing due to council cuts.
The board of trustees of N.I.C.E. currently manage and develop Netherthird Community Centre which is a large modern building which the board have taken the building over in a Community Asset Transfer. Our main objectives are to improve the community of Netherthird by developing and maintaining our community centre for the locals to use and to run community events for local people to attend.
The centre is used for a number of different events
Tea and Coffee Mornings
Volunteer Scheme for Local Socially Isolated People
Visits from the General Public
We operate a community café
A community charity shop
We hire out rooms for a large number of local groups including karate, dance groups, disability groups and other community focussed groups.
We operate a community food larder
We have two mental health treatment rooms available for organisations involved in social care to use to help combat suicide rates and drug and alcohol abuse
N.I.C.E. is shaped and influenced by feedback and consultation by the residents of Netherthird and surrounding area.
N.I.C.E. continues to work towards making Netherthird and surrounding area a vibrant and attractive area to live in.
Netherthird Is a former mining village on the south side of Cumnock, just off the main A76 trunk road to Dumfries and has a population of around 2000. It is an area of deprivation but is a very close knit and vibrant community. it is made up from a mix of different people, all the way from young people and young families all the way up to pensioners. We have also recently welcomed in both Ukrainian families and Afghanistan families who have been fleeing war in their countries, they attend the community centre for support in language lessons, support in gaining employment and other support. Netherthird is a very tight and close knit area because of this. Any community event is well attended with over 200 per day attending our summer scheme for local children, there is also a good group of community volunteers helping run the community centre and our local community gardens.
The local area is made up of local authority housing and ex local authority housing. The homes were originally built in the 1950's to accommodate miners and their families with most coming from the mining village of Skares but also from other mining area in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire. It is made up as a mix of 2 and 3 bedroom flats, semi detached and terraced housing. Due to a program of renovation by Shire housing a lot of houses are in good condition however some are not and have overgrown and untidy gardens. Netherthird was built on ex farm land so it is surrounded by fields and there is a lot green spaces in the local area including our community garden, Murray park and Netherthird playing fields.
There are few job opportunities locally. In most cases local people have to travel to the larger towns in Ayrshire such as Kilmarnock and Ayr and sometimes as far as Glasgow. There are a few large local employers such as the Emergency One group and Dumfries House.
We have a very strong newly built local primary school and early years centre in the area. We have built really close links with our local primary school and do a lot of partnership work alongside them.
In the local area there are a number of activities for all ages with the community centre acting as the hub for these activities. The community centre has bagpipe lessons, social clubs, karate, dance classes, zumba and other classes.
N.I.C.E. has carried out great work in our local community over the last number of years. We have operated a community food larder from our community centre as a result of the after affects of covid and the cost of living crisis, the larder has over 200 members who can get access to subsidised food and toiletries (5 items for £1), free food and toiletries and ready meals. This project has been a great success and has eased the financial burden for a number of local people. We also operate a local charity shop which sells clothes and other goods and a much reduced price, this has been a successful project to support local people and also acted as a hub for local people struggling financially to get new school clothes for young children.
We have a community cafe and training kitchen in operation 5 days a week within the community centre. This has been a great success in young people coming into the Kitchen through training and employability scheme's and being trained up and developed in order to pursue a career in hospitality.
This project has been a great success working alongside East Ayrshire council supported employment, young person guarantee scheme, kickstart fund and other organisations to give people with barriers to employment a chance to train and be employed in a hospitality setting.
We have also built an extension onto the community centre to include 2 mental health treatment rooms and a larger main hall. These mental health treatment rooms will be used by a number of local organisations to help local people's mental health and wellbeing. These rooms have been open since march 2022 and are being well used by local support groups and charities.
We currently have a number of young people taking part in our youth intervention scheme. Youth Interventions are a multli- disciplinary team of professionals who specialise in the mental/emotional wellbeing of our young people aged 11-25, and their families.They are a collective of Youth Workers, Recovery Practitioners and BACP Accredited Relational Person Centred/Integrative Psychotherapists, and central to their work is our collaborative approach. A young trainee from our community kitchen approached youth intervention scheme as they had difficulty sleeping at night, the scheme has provided therapy to our young trainee to assist with this. The situation has now improved for them. We also have a volunteer who has autism and is part of the team working in the community cafe as a volunteer. This volunteer has worked within the cafe for over 2 years as a way of reducing social isolation and improving his life skills in a friendly environment. Because of this he has gained confidence and had the confidence to apply to be a crossing patroller at the local primary school.
We are constantly seeking grants to help cover the utility bills of the centre going forward. The community centre is open every weekday and at weekends by appointment and provides a programme of activities for all ages.
Our community centre is the hub of our community
EPIC Pipe band training for youngsters
Ayrshire Independent Living Network.
East Ayrshire Family Support
Netherthird Primary School
Netherthird Sewing Class
Youth Intervention Scheme
Community Food Larder
East Ayrshire Council Supported Employment
The Stroke Group
Pensioners Thursday Club
Impressions Dance Studio
East Ayrshire Council Social Work Department
And much more besides............
All of these groups use the centre either free or for a substantially reduced rate. Because of this the N.I.C.E. group are responsible for finding excess money for utility bills in order to keep the centre accessible to our users at an affordable rate, this is even more important for us in the middle of the cost of living crisis.
Within Netherthird we have a high uptake of people taking part in our projects. Netherthird is a very close knit community and they see the centre as the main community hub. The projects we have run within Netherthird Community Centre are really well attended so it gives us the platform to encourage other people into the centre to take part in other projects as well as using our established links with the local community and our partners we will use these links to promote events and projects we are running within the Centre.
We are also prominent of Facebook and we use this as a way of advertising, we reach a number of our customers using this method as well as two large notice board on the entrance to the centre and a display TV.
N.I.C.E. work with a number of different organisations to effectively operate the centre.
We work in partnership with Netherthird Primary School in a number of different ways, we hold the pupils Christmas concert, parent and pupil information sessions and fundraising events are all held at the community centre.
We work closely with several departments within East Ayrshire Council to make the centre an effective hub in our community.
We work with the vibrant communities department in order to run a number of community projects. The vibrant communities department supported us in the launching of our food bank and community food larder service.
In addition we run community fundays, kids clubs and sports events. We also work with the East Ayrshire employability scheme who are based in the community centre. We have had trainee's from the employability scheme starting in our community cafe.
The Board of Trustees
Chair:- Maggie Campbell
Vice Chair:- Nancy Torbet
Secretary:- Phyllis Perriman
Treasurer:- David Perriman
Trustee:- Peter Smith
Trustee:- Grant Torbet
Trustee:- Joan Murdoch
Trustee:- Grace Nichol