At Home – A new Heritage project for 2021

Seeing our home in a new light

Over the past year we have all spent a lot of time at home. This has been both in the building we call home and in Moniaive, the place we call home, among the people who help to make it our home.  We have juggled with working from home, home schooling, and worrying about our jobs and incomes. On the other hand, within our four walls there has been a resurgence of interest in domestic life reflected in baking, crafting and gardening.  Confined to our immediate surroundings, many of us have happily rediscovered the place in which we live by observing our gardens or walking in the countryside around us.  

An opportunity through heritage

The story of our home is part of our heritage.  We see this time as a golden opportunity to begin to explore and record that heritage. Moniaive Initiative are collaborating with Jackie and Chris Lee of Moniaive-based Artemis Scotland, which specialises in heritage interpretation.  Together we would like to invite you to participate in a community project that highlights Home and will focus on the Bank Holiday weekend of 1st-3rd May 2021.

Why are we suggesting this?

Recent studies have shown that heritage plays a powerful role in wellbeing and therefore the economy and regeneration. In terms of mental health, it is said to be “transformative” – when we feel good, we are more creative and make fewer demands on the NHS. It provides us with a sense of rootedness, connects us and helps us to belong. In short, it is about helping us to secure our future.

What is heritage?

Heritage is not just “old stuff”, it is the evidence history leaves behind. It can be a building, a landscape, a drystone dyke, a coin, a teacup, a tractor, a painting, a tradition, a language, or a belief. It is your traybake recipe, your lambing techniques, or your back catalogue of video games. It is the pub, the church, and even grandparents with another tale of the old days. It does not matter whether you have lived here for only weeks, or all your life: this is your heritage.

How can we engage with our heritage?

There are many ways, but a good starting point – given social distancing – would be to think of ourselves as heritage detectives, looking at what is around us. What is special about the place where you live? What is your house made of, and does it have any special features?  Is it old or new?   Are there any stories about it?  Who used to live there? What was there before your house was built?

Perhaps it is not the physical building itself which speaks of home to you. Perhaps it is an object with a story – a shepherd’s crook, a chair, a patchwork quilt, a photograph of the milkman’s horse. It might be an experience about shops that have gone, a gala day or a memory of the “great snow”.  And it’s not just the story of those who have lived in Glencairn for generations we are interested in hearing.  Everyone’s story is important, even if you have just arrived here.  Why you have chosen to make Glencairn your home is part of your story and the heritage of our community.

How can we share our heritage stories?

This is challenging during the pandemic, but we will ensure that everyone can participate safely.  To begin with we would like to suggest two simple ideas:

  1. A window into the heritage of our homes

The tried and tested method of village window displays has worked so well that we would like to use it again on the May Bank Holiday weekend.  We therefore invite you to be as imaginative and creative as possible on the theme of At Home. Think of it as creating a mini museum or gallery that will be part of a trail around the village.  People will be able to follow the trail at their leisure over the course of the weekend, according to whatever rules are in place at the time. It is not a competition, just some creative fun with some heritage information on the side.

The Trail will be based in Moniaive, so we are currently developing ideas to involve those who live in the wider Glencairn area.  One suggestion is for those outside the village to contribute to a virtual scrapbook. Another idea would be to create a temporary display around Macara Park, or to utilise ‘unused’ windows around the village.  We welcome your suggestions on how to make this work.

  • A trail within a trail

To put the At Home trail into context we will provide an updated heritage trail of village landmarks, looking at the stories of the heritage sites we know well, and few that have been forgotten. There will be some old ones, some new ones, some loved ones, and some neglected ones. Again, the idea is that you follow the trail at your leisure, within the current social distancing guidelines.

Where do I start?

For those with internet access, we recommend you start by checking if your home is listed on the National Record of the Historic Environmentwebsite called Canmore at:

If you type key words like ‘Moniaive’ or ‘Glencairn’ into the SEARCH box, it will bring up Site Records on the front tab, and an interactive Map on the second tab. By clicking on the map, you can zoom down to building level.  If your building is overlaid with a black dot, you can click on that to access the information held on file. This might include date information, building construction details, or digital images or documents.

Over the coming weeks we will be offering further tips on research which we will share on the Moniaive Initiative and Artemis Scotland Facebook pages, and on the new dedicated ‘Heritage’ page on this website. We will also find ways to share other ideas to ensure that those without internet access are able to participate.

For your well being

One last thing, as with any community project, it is important to respect other peoples’ privacy. Any information that you chose to share should not compromise your own, or other people’s privacy, safety or security.  We ask that you do not reference living persons, or share (identifying) photos of them, without their permission.  We likewise suggest that you think carefully about the type of photos of your home that you share.  This is not about revealing where you hide the Rembrandt!

We hope this project will inspire you, and the local organisations and businesses that are part of our daily life, to begin to build on our heritage. Your suggestions and feedback are welcome.  We hope At Home is just a beginning; the past has a long future!

Moniaive Affordable House wins Empty Homes Award

at the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Annual Awards Ceremony on 2nd February 2021

Moniaive Initiative are very pleased to announce that we have won the “Best Long Term Empty Homes Restoration Project” – for our house renovation at Sawmill Green, Moniaive. #scottishemptyhomes#emptyhomes2021

A big Thank You to Mike Staples of (SOSCH) for collecting the award for us, and to SOSCH for all their help along the way. Thanks also go to the Rural Housing Fund and SSE Renewables for funding the project; to our main Contractor, JW Vernon Ltd, for completing the project under very difficult circumstances; and to all the local volunteers who helped us to make this project happen.

Mike Staples (SOSCH), Bill McLarty (Chair, MI) and John Murray (Treasurer, MI) outside Sawmill Green, with the Award for Best Long-Term Empty Homes Restoration Project 2021

Mike Staples, Chief Executive at SOSCH said: “Everyone at SOSCH is really excited about this award because it recognises the role community-led housing can play in bringing empty properties back into use as bright, safe, secure, warm and accessible homes.  We’re delighted for the team at Moniaive Initiative whom we worked in partnership with over several years to secure ownership and funding to redevelop Sawmill Green, and who have demonstrated that new locally managed affordable housing supply in our rural communities can be provided through existing properties”. 

Moniaive Initiative Chairman, Bill McLarty, said “This award is a lovely way of recognising several years’ of hard work by a range of people from across the community.  We would just like to thank everyone who helped us to make this project happen.”

Moniaive Affordable Housing Project Shortlisted for an Award

Moniaive Initiative are pleased to announce that their first Community Affordable Housing Project has been shortlisted for an award in the “Best Long-Term Empty Homes Restoration Project” category of the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership Annual Awards Ceremony, on 2nd February 2021.  We are the only community-led project shortlisted.

Moniaive Initiative purchased 12 Sawmill Green in 2019, after five years of preliminary work to identify local housing need and investigate potential development.  They received a grant from the Scottish Government Rural Housing Fund to purchase the building, which had stood empty and declining in the centre of their village for several years.  Further grants from SSE Renewables enabled them to renovate the property to make it fully accessible and suitable for an older or less able member of the community.  Work was seriously delayed by the Covid19 pandemic; but thanks to the dedication of the team, including their local main contractor J&W Vernon Ltd, the renovation was eventually completed in August 2020, and the first tenant moved in just days later.

Moniaive Initiative was supported through the process by South of Scotland Community Housing (formerly DGSCHT), whose Chief Executive, Mike Staples, said: “An amazing job has been done of transforming the property into a bright, welcoming home, and we’re incredibly pleased with the overall outcome.”

There has been a record number of empty homes brought back into use over the past year and the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership is excited about honouring those who have worked so hard to make it happen.

Kevin Stewart, housing minister, said: “It is very encouraging that in the midst of a pandemic, we have seen continued hard work and dedication of people and organisations to tackle the issue of empty homes. These properties can be a blight on communities which is why the Scottish Government has invested £400,000 each year to support the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.

“We greatly appreciate all of the effort that has gone into bringing empty homes back into use over the past year. Good luck and congratulations to all of the deserving finalists.”

Tell us what you think about the Hive!

The Hive is currently closed again due to tightened Covid restrictions. So we would like to use this period to gather some feedback on what we’ve done with the building to date, to help us shape our plans for the future. Whether you donate to or buy from the Hive, use the Library, attend meetings there, sell your crafts through the Hive, or volunteer with us – we want to know what you think. It’s a 10 question, multiple-choice survey, which should take less than 5 minutes to complete, and it’s completely anonymous. Just click on the link below to begin the survey (opens in a new tab). Thanks!

Short-term Work Opportunities

Hive Business Development Contracts

Please Note: due to low applications, the deadline for these contracts has been extended

  • 2 x Short-term contracts, up to 3 months
    • Home based, with some work in Moniaive
    • Flexible hours
    • Budget of £2,000 per contract
    • Immediate start


Moniaive Initiative is offering two, short-term contracts to help us deliver the next stage of our Community Shop & Hub project, with a focus on increasing the resilience and long-term sustainability of The Hive. 

Contract 1 will complete an Operational Review of The Hive, including updates to the Business Plan and investigation of options for new service provision and income streams. This contract will culminate in the presentation of a revised Business Plan for future business development. Candidates for this contract will require proven project finance skills, good computer skills and a sound understanding of community business and charity organization. 

Contract 2 will complete a Buildings Audit and create an Action Plan for building improvement works.  This post will project manage the ongoing programme of essential building repairs and will be responsible for coordinating volunteer workparties. Candidates for this contract will require project management experience and sound computer skills.

Candidates for both contracts will be required to liaise with the Moniaive Initiative Project Officers, and to report progress to the Moniaive Initiative Board of Trustees regularly during the contract period. 

We will consider offering both contracts to one candidate.

Deadline for return of applications – 5pm Friday 15th January 2021

Digital Interviews will be held in week commencing 18th January 2021


Requirements of the contract are:

  • Use data from the first year of operation to update the existing Business Plan for The Hive
  • Use data from the first year of operation to carry out an Operational Review of the business
  • Investigate options for new income streams to support the resilience of the Hive
  • Investigate options for new service provision to widen the use of the Hive and to support wider community resilience
  • Present the Operational Review and the revised Business Plan to the Board of Trustees at the end of the contract


Requirements of the contract are:

  • Carry out a full review of the current condition of the building
  • Create a Building Action Plan, outlining essential and short-term improvements required
  • Arrange and project manage implementation of essential building repairs / improvements
  • Coordinate volunteer work-parties to carry out some works
  • Draft ideas for mid to long term improvements
  • Investigate funding options for improvement works
  • Present the Building Action Plan, plus your ideas for future improvements, to the Board of Trustees at the end of the contract

Please email your CV and covering letter to by 5pm Friday 15th January 2021.

First Public Electric Car Charging Point in Moniaive is Operational

Just under a year ago Moniaive Initiative were asked to support Glencairn Community Council as they worked with local resident Peter Charlesworth on a project to install the first electric car charging points in Moniaive.  We are happy to say that the new electric Car Charging post in the village Car Park at the foot of Dunreggan Brae is now installed and operational. The post, owned and operated by Dumfries & Galloway Council, provides two 22kW chargers and two parking bays and is part of the Charge Place Scotland network. The bulk of the funding came from the UK Government’s On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme, with the balance coming from the Department of Transport for Scotland. The two new chargers can deliver enough power to add up to 90 miles of range for every hour the car is plugged in and are ideal for overnight charging and short stays in the village. 

With the transition to electric vehicles now brought forward, work must accelerate on getting the right infrastructure in place to encourage take-up of the new technology.  Where residents do not have access to off-road or dedicated kerbside parking (as is the case for many householders in Moniaive), suitable charging provision will be required through public charging networks. There are over 1,000 charging points in the Charge Place Scotland network (and over 35,000 across the UK), with chargers available across Dumfries and Galloway, including at Dalry, Castle Douglas, Dumfries, Dalmellington, Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Gretna and Sanquhar. Some local businesses also provide electric charging points.  The Charge Place Scotland website and App includes a map of chargers throughout Scotland.

The new chargers in Moniaive are compatible with all electric cars and plug in hybrid cars currently on the market. To use them, you will need your own charging cable with a Type2 connector (the most common type) and a subscription to Charge Place Scotland (£20 per annum).  Simply plug your cable into your car at one end and the charger at the other, hold your membership card up to the charge post and charging will start; just hold your card up again to stop charging. Although many of the chargers throughout Scotland are free to use, our charging points cost 25p per kWh (with a minimum charge of £1.50).  These charges are levied by D&G Council to cover the cost of electricity and charge point maintenance.  At the equivalent of about 6p per mile, this is still much cheaper than petrol or diesel, but will still be more expensive than charging at home.  Just remember to move your car promptly when you have finished charging, to allow others to use the facilities!

Welcome to our first tenant!

front   living

Moniaive Initiative are pleased to announce the completion of 12 Sawmill Green, Moniaive, our first Affordable Housing project.  Moniaive Initiative Treasurer, John Murray, said: “We used a Rural Housing Fund grant from Scottish Government to purchase a building which had stood empty within our community for some years.  We then secured a generous grant from SSE Dumfries & Galloway Sustainable Development Fund to renovate the interior of the house to make it fully accessible and bring it up to date.”

Moniaive Initiative have been working on the project with Dumfries & Galloway Small Communities Housing Trust since 2015.  They carried out community consultation on local need for affordable housing, then followed up with feasibility work, concept design and then fundraising.  The building was purchased in July 2019, and renovation work began at the end of 2019.  The house interior was stripped right back to create a new internal layout, including a second bedroom, and allowing the installation of accessible, open plan kitchen area and wet-room style bathroom.

kitchen bathroom

“We were just days away from completing the renovation when Lockdown came into force and work had to stop on site,” said Moniaive Initiative Chairman, Bill McLarty.  “We had already selected our first tenant, but fortunately she was able to delay her move.”

New tenant, Mrs Edwards, said: “I love my new home, it’s perfect for me and I am so lucky to have it. Having my family around me is wonderful and returning to Moniaive feels like I have come home.”

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Moniaive Initiative and a lot of hard work has gone into making their first community-led project a reality,” said Mike Staples, Chief Executive of DGSCHT.  “An amazing job has been done of transforming the property into a bright, welcoming home and we’re incredibly pleased with the overall outcome.”

Mr McLarty added: “We are very pleased to welcome Mrs Edwards back to the village and wish her every happiness in her new home.”

P/T Home Working Opportunities with Moniaive Initiative

For the duration of the current Covid-19 situation Moniaive initiative will be offering small sections of work to locals whose normal work has been affected by the lockdown.   This will all be home-based, computer work, and will be broken down into fixed contracts of 7 or 14 hours, to be paid at a flat rate of £9/hr.

We are looking for individuals, resident in Glencairn, with a good knowledge / experience of various aspects of life in Glencairn, including local business, organisations, facilities and service provision, and with good general computer skills.   You will be assigned items to research and write up for a Baseline Report we are preparing.  You will need your own computer, internet access, and MS WORD and/or EXCEL. We also have some business / financial analysis sections, which will require good numeracy and spreadsheet skills.  All work will be sent out / returned by email.  We will match individuals to work elements according to skills and experience, but you can apply for multiple sections of work.

Payment will be made directly into your bank account, upon satisfactory completion of each section.  You will be responsible for your own Tax/NI, and for checking that this work will not impact on any other financial assistance you may need to apply for.

If you are interested in taking part, please email in the first instance, giving a brief outline of your skills and experience.  We will give priority to those who have lost their main source of income due to Covid-19. Your application will be handled in strictest confidence.

Covid-19 Announcement

Dear residents of Glencairn,

With much consideration by managers, staff and the management committee, it has been decided that in the interests of personal and community health, the Hive is to close as a retail outlet for the foreseeable future, whilst the social distancing advice from the government is in effect. Our last day of trading will be on Friday 20th March. We would like to thank our wonderful volunteers who have continued to offer their valuable time during this difficult period. This decision has not been taken lightly, and we realise that whilst the Hive offers a valuable community hub service, it does not offer an essential service in the products it sells. We feel that volunteers who are able and willing will be able to offer their services to the community in a more useful capacity in the future, whilst staying safe in the short-term. We will be helping co-ordinate any volunteer services needed by the community and resilience group. We thank you for your understanding and support and hope you all stay well. We are a wonderful community that has great capacity for kindness and generosity of spirit and we will come through this, hopefully stronger and more caring than ever.

The Hive Managers, Staff and Management Committee