Clydesdale Community Enterprises (CCI Scotland) welcomed Princess Ann The Princess Royal to their new centre at Langloch Farm just outside Lanark on Friday to carry out the official opening.
It was an exciting and emotional day for all concerned, especially for the staff and board of CCI, who after years of ‘blood sweat and tears’ have seen this dream become a reality.
The Princess was treated to a tour of the new facilities where she met groups of CCI participants who demonstrated a range of social enterprise activities and tasks. This included a visit to the woodcraft workshop where participants who have formed a micro business group were able to show her some of their skills, and a beautiful box made from Clyde valley oak was later presented to the princess as a gift.
The princess met CCI Scotland’s landscape construction and gardening teams before visiting a new polytunnel and being given a demonstration of how CCI participants have grown marigolds and then processed the leaves into calendula products.
The event was also an opportunity to thank the many people and organisations who have made the Langloch project possible.
These include supporters ranging from funders to those who are volunteers at CCI and without whose support CCI would be considerably poorer in every sense of the word.
The farm represents a £1.8m investment which is already changing the lives of many disadvantaged people in the community. Principal funding has come from the Big Lottery, European Regional Development Fund, Robertson Trust, Garfield Weston, Clothworkers and Clyde Windfarm cash administered through South Lanarkshire Council, and many businesses and individuals also give support.
The Princess expressed particular interest in the work that CCI does to support its clients, the social enterprise model that Langloch Farm will help, and showed understanding about the challenges that charities face in
generating an income from commercial work while maintaining a core ethos which is delivering support in such a way that participants can make their contribution to the community.
Following the tour HRH met with guests and then unveiled a plaque before officially declaring the centre open. During her address she spoke highly of the work that CCI was doing in the community, and in particular she referred
to what she could see was a unique relationship between staff, clients and volunteers which she said was clearly based on a strong and mutual respect.
For everyone concerned this was a day that will live long in their memories. It was a particularly memorable day for Ron Waddell who, after 10 years of service to the organisation, was carrying out his final duties before stepping down as chair of the board of directors,
Throughout the event there was a fantastic atmosphere with many of the guests and CCI participants commenting on how friendly and supportive the princess had been.