Hawick welcome hosts initiative receives £5,000 funding boost

Derek Tait of Future Hawick.
Derek Tait of Future Hawick.

Hawick’s welcome hosts are likely to return for the tourist season after receiving a funding boost from the town’s common good fund.

Future Hawick, a community group which took over the running of the town’s tourist greeters last year, has been awarded £5,000 by councillors.

The group, which runs projects aimed at improving the quality of life of the town’s residents, needs the money to cover the costs of employing the welcome hosts as part of the organisation’s Hawick Welcome initiative.

The hosts meet and greet visitors to the town during the summer tourist season and provide them with information on where they can eat, sleep or shop.

At a meeting of the Hawick common good fund committee last Tuesday, March 19, Future Hawick chairman Derek Tait told councillors why his organisation is in need of funding.

He said: “Last year was the first time we took on the welcome hosts and we think we did a pretty good job.

“This year we also have two extra challenges.

“Firstly, Visit Scotland has withdrawn its visitor centre and support, and in our opinion what Live Borders has put in its place is not enough for the number of visitors the town receives.

“The second challenge is our own fundraising efforts. Last year we were able to host a fundraising concert ahead of the tourist season, but because of Live Borders mismanagement some performers have withdrawn and the concert has now had to be pushed back to September.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall said: “I think you do a great job for the town and to be honest it would be unthinkable for the welcome hosts to be on the High Street.

“I propose we award this grants in its entirety.”

Fellow Hawick and Denholm councillor Clair Ramage commented: “I know you work very hard trying to fundraise and I would support this because it’s a real positive for the town and brings in tourists.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer added: “This is something that has been going for a while in Hawick and it’s been great to see it going from strength to strength, I fully support this.”

Councillors voted unanimously to approve the grant of £5,000 to Future Hawick.