Kathleen bows out of Carluke Development Trust

Kathleen Feeney
Kathleen Feeney

Carluke Development Trust manager Kathleen Feeney is bowing out this month.

She is leaving to take up a post with a prostate cancer charity, and the search is on for a new boss for the trust.

“I have absolutely loved it,” said Kathleen. “My time here has been amazing.”

Kathleen, 53, has been development manager at the trust for three years.

The post was initially funded through the Scottish Government’s Strengthening Communities Programme for two years, but Kathleen’s work was so impressive that it was extended another year and has now been extended again.

Looking back, Kathleen is proud of the progress made on the project to take Carluke’s historic 16th century windmill into community ownership and transform it for the benefit of the town.

“That is currently our flagship project,” she said. “Its profile nationally has never been so high.”

Over the last couple of decades, there have been attempts to take over the ruined mill, but it is only now that it has become such a firm project that it is eligible for funding from national bodies, and the trust is almost ready to put in an application to the Scottish Land Fund for money to buy the whole mill site.

“Once we own the land and the mill, we are going to start to use the land for community use. Different groups could be involved in our growing and horticulture project,” said Kathleen.

She will still be involved as a Carluke resident as she lives in the town with husband Peter and son Conor.

Carluke born and bred, she formerly ran the Perfect Press business. She is off to take on a bigger role, as national volunteer appointment manager for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for Prostate Cancer UK.

It was the charity’s aim which attracted her – within 10 years, it wants to introduce national screening for men.

“Its aim is to stop men dying from prostate cancer, and it is wholly preventable,” said Kathleen.

She has a background in health to bring to that cause as she spent years as an Army nurse and then worked with pharmaceutical companies promoting oncology drugs.

Another major trust project which has grown massively in the last couple of years is Carluke on the Run, encouraging people of all ages in the town to run up to six miles or just to toddle along a track.

The numbers have grown each year, and the trust has gone into partnership with the Beatson Cancer Charity, with all the runners raising funds for it rather than their own causes.

Kathleen’s sister Jacqueline Carrigan took part in the 2014 run despite undergoing treatment for cancer.

She died that year at the age of 51, and last year her family and friends turned out in force to run as Team Jacque for the Beatson.

Kathleen is delighted at the bond built with the Beatson.

“If that is the legacy I have built, that is fabulous,” she said.

Her other major success is the Carluke Jam and Ham Festival, celebrating the town’s past and involving more events each year

“Carluke on the Run and the Carluke Jam and Ham Festival are the things I am most proud of because of the way they have developed and continue to be legacies that have involved the whole community,” she said.