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About the Crossroads Community Hub

Following the closure and demolition of Crossroads Primary School, Crossroads Community Hub was established as a company in 2011, then a charity in 2015. The charitable objectives of the Hub have remained virtually unchanged since their establishment. The outreach service in the community which started in 2015 has continually strived to meet the charitable objectives, and the new Hub will bring even more opportunities to benefit the community.

Ayrshire Food Hub has been set up as the income generating arm of Crossroads Community Hub, with all income from the Food Hub being used to meet our charitable objectives.

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Our Objectives

  • Improve the quality of life for local people and contribute to creating a sustainable rural community
  • Support and promote life-long educational opportunities
  • Support and promote all aspects of health and well-being, recreation and social integration
  • Increase environmental sustainability through re-Iocalisation activities
  • Maintain, improve or provide community facilities and public amenities
  • Develop and promote initiatives with other communities and organisations to foster national and international networks of support and shared knowledge

Our Journey

  • 2011

    In 2011 our journey began with Crossroads Community Hub registering as a Company Limited by Guarantee with the catchment area agreed as the 6 rural parishes surrounding Crossroads. We joined Development Trust Association Scotland (DTAS) which lead to excellent support and opportunities for networking with other trusts.

    After Crossroads Primary School was closed and demolished, a small committee formed and did a survey of local households which showed clear support for a project centred around a community facility that focused on celebrating local produce.

  • 2012

    In April 2012 we were awarded our first grant from Big Lottery Awards for All Scotland to investigate putting our idea of “Ayrshire Food from Ayrshire Folk” into practice. Community Enterprise were commissioned to do a study. Surveys found that there was a real desire for adult education classes with a focus on cooking, gardening, fitness and wellbeing. This converged neatly with our fundamental aims of the project. Our facility could be home to these classes and events and could also offer a space to promote local produce.

    From this early stage it was clear that it was important to people that products were handmade, homegrown or locally sourced – an ideal that we still hold to this day.

  • 2013

    An idea formulated to develop a new building at Crossroads to meet the needs of local people. We wanted to create a place for people to meet and to develop new knowledge, skills and capacity – largely around food and food production in order to stimulate social and economic regeneration. It was important to us that the building was run by the community with income being allocated for the benefit of the community.

  • 2014

    East Ayrshire Council agreed terms for the Crossroads site to transfer to Crossroads Community Hub. Through a number of open evenings, focus groups and meetings with our architects and community consultants, and having attended community council meetings and councillors’ surgeries, we began to shape the building design and themes for activities. Continually listening to our community helped keep us informed about what really mattered to the people around us.

  • 2015

    New funding from Scottish Government Strengthening Communities Programme allowed us to expand our staff and access new resources and facilities. We also became a Scottish Charity (SC 045827) and were awarded funding from Scottish Land Fund for the purchase of Crossroads Site.

  • 2016

    We were represented on an Erasmus visit to Iceland as part of an Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce initiative to support food, hospitality and tourism in Ayrshire. We combined this with further experiences and continued research in an aim to make sure our project would be as comprehensive and successful as possible.

    Further resources were funded by Community-led Big Lottery. We were delighted to have funding pledged to help construct the Hub building from the East Ayrshire Renewable Fund and from EB Scotland. At this point we gained planning approval for what would become the Ayrshire Food Hub building.

  • 2017

    We found what would become our Darvel base, which continues to provide us with office space and excellent kitchen facilities that support our practical food activities.

    Through a collaborative bid with East Ayrshire Council, Crossroads Community Hub was delighted to be awarded major funding towards our Hub building from the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund. We are grateful for funding pledged to help construct the building from The Robertson Trust. Awards were received from Community Choices, Bessie Roxburgh Bequest and East Ayrshire Council, to support food and cooking workshops and from the Elizabeth Frankland Moore and Star Foundation to provide educational resources.

  • 2018

    We continued to have to overcome huge challenges associated with the realising of a project of this scale, and we will always be grateful to the Scottish Government Strengthening Communities and Regeneration Funding teams for their support. Our relationship with Scottish Procurement Alliance proved fruitful, enabling the building to be redesigned and ultimately built. The choice to make the Hub eco-friendly meant that the building itself could add to our objective of promoting a sustainable way of living. At this time, we were fortunate to be able to strengthen our Trustees’ skills by recruiting people with design and construction backgrounds.

    Our Darvel Hub became the focus of our work in the community as we built relationships, encouraged people to meet, and established dialogue with local schools, using growing, cooking and eating as our focus. As a result of these conversations, we knew that we had to offer not just products, but opportunities. Opportunities to learn, to explore, to engage and to grow. A refresh of our initial community survey confirmed we were on the right lines.

  • 2019

    Early in 2019 we finally purchased the Crossroads site from East Ayrshire Council and with support from the Scottish Land Fund we hosted a well-attended celebration day in Darvel. Construction of our Ayrshire Food Hub building commenced in March, with Hadden Construction in charge. What was once a derelict site would become the focal point of our efforts to provide an effective, inclusive community resource. We were one of five community organisations in Scotland to benefit from the Brand for Growth Initiative which supported our rebrand to Ayrshire Food Hub.

    Our team expanded to include community gardeners, food workers and an army of volunteers. Our Edible Bedsproject was in place, encouraging members of the community to grow and harvest produce in beds and polytunnels around the area. One of our food workers was selected as a Scottish youth representative in a Scottish Enterprise-Rural Leadership visit to the Netherlands to view urban-rural working.

    Classes and events were held at our Darvel base, reaching hundreds of individuals and families from every corner of the community. In recognition of our contribution to rural community work we won the Scottish Land and Estates – Working with Communities Award.

  • 2020

    2020 brought some unforeseeable challenges to everyone. Much of our time has been dedicated to a response to Covid-19.Overnight, our food workers, using their food prep and cooking skills, transformed from being educators to full-time cooks, producing meals on a massive scale to help those in the community most affected by Covid-19 and its side-effects. We have produced over 16,000 meals (and counting) ever since lockdown began early in the year. Our work was recognised by Scottish Land and Estates as we won the Community Champion of the Year Award.

    Our employees, volunteers and business partners continue to grow as our building nears completion and we look forward to moving in and opening the facility in a safe and responsible way.

Projects

Edible Beds

In partnership with schools, nurseries, residential homes and other institutions and organisations around the Valley, we want to encourage our community to stay in touch with the most basic source of the food that ends up on our plates. With sites at Loudoun Academy, Darvel Sports Centre and Rosebank Resource Centre, we believe that through education and participation we can inspire organisations and the public to get their hands dirty and start growing. With support, cultivating and harvesting produce offers an opportunity for education, integration and an overall rewarding experience.

Fareshare

Through the FareShare scheme, we receive donations of fresh fruit, veg and bread from Tesco Galston, Tesco Kilmarnock and Morrisons Kilmarnock. This offers more people greater access to fresh produce whilst ensuring less food ends up in landfill. Donations received through FareShare, combined with our own Edible Beds produce and our meals prepared for the East Ayrshire foodbanks, are a concerted effort to provide and deliver food to where it’s needed most.

Darvel Hub

Our Darvel Hub is vital in our work to offer help where it is needed most in our community. Classes and events in the past have included peer support for physical and mental health, Mums and Bubs parenting support, Love Food Hate Waste classes, men’s traditional gaming nights, Reuse Recycle arts and crafts groups and free lunch clubs. Touched by Suicide, Home Energy Scotland, Housing Support and Vibrant Communities all had sessions at the facility.

Ayrshire’s Food Heritage

We look to preserve and promote traditional Ayrshire dishes. Developing the Young Workforce is a team of young people who, in their work with us, foster knowledge of the growing, preparation and cooking of fresh produce. This team uncover their parents’, grandparents’ and great grandparents’ recipes, reimagining and rejuvenating them, bringing a new lease of life to the dishes that have helped shape so many memories amongst Ayrshire’s families over the years. We will then feature these recipes in our cafe.

Covid-19

Working from our Darvel Hub, we distribute meals along with our partners from Covid response teams, local community groups and charities, East Ayrshire social work, East Ayrshire Vibrant Communities, EACVO Foodbank and local community councils. We are partnering with local schools and Early Child Care Centres to distribute our fresh soups and meals. We have produced and delivered over 16,000 meals and counting.

Our Supporters

We thank the following organisations without whose support the Hub would not have been built, and many local organisations, businesses and individuals for in kind, monetary and material donations.

Ayrshire Food Hub would not be here without your help.

Scottish Land Fund

Scottish Government – Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, Strengthening Communities Fund, Investing in Communities Fund and Oral Health Challenge Fund

The Robertson Trust

East Ayrshire Renewable Fund

EB Scotland

Ayrshire Leader

Elizabeth Frankland Moore and Star Foundation

Resilient Scotland

Connect Local

Big Lottery Community-led Fund and Awards for All

Postcode Local Trust

COVID Awards

The Coronavirus pandemic changed everyone’s lives from March when lockdown was enforced. Our team responded by taking on new gardening, cooking and admin roles enabling free vegetables , Fareshare food and 20,000 homecooked soups  and meals to be distributed by 13 community groups and volunteers to people  in need throughout the Irvine Valley, South Kilmarnock and Mauchline. This was only possible due to the support of our funders and the generosity of the following organisations as well as local businesses and individuals.

East Ayrshire Council

Foundation Scotland

Corra Foundation

Charities Aid Foundation

Tesco

Fareshare Food Donations, From Asda, Tesco and Coop

Third Sector Resilience Fund

Scottish Government:

Regeneration Capital Grant Fund

Investing in Communities

Oral Health Challenge

Shire Housing

Morrisons

Awards for All