Langholm is a community known for its resilience, but for many years we have prevented positive change by allowing ourselves to become entangled in issues of personality and grudge.
Ours is a community of talented and ambitiou
s individuals, but this has sometimes fostered competition rather than co-operation.
We have allowed ourselves at times to become too caught up in social politics that pervade every small community, and allowed small issues to grow into much bigger problems.
However, as the autumn is swept away into winter, change also seems to be approaching in how we tackle problems.
Coming together as a community is something that we excel in, but sometimes the necessary times that have called for community cohesion are times when we have been most divided.
I was recently at a community brainstorming session organised by the Langholm Alliance. Here, we set into small groups to discuss the advantages, challenges and potential solutions to living in our fragile area.
In the past, I suspect this meeting would have descended into pandemonium as passions and rivalries exploded.
But... it didn't.
The meeting proved to be a productive opportunity for community stakeholders to truthfully express their ongoing concerns and offer real, tangible solutions to issues that we face daily.
Some of these are strategic, figuring out how we might inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and how we can improve our connectivity and transport.
Some of them are more short-term and can be implemented quickly and efficiently.
But above all, I and many of my colleagues from across the spectrum of community organisations, businesses and groups, felt the meeting demonstrated the power of collective responsibility in regeneration. The ability for a community to come together and face challenges was aptly demonstrated by a broad agreement that if one thing should happen in Langholm and Eskdale it's that we should trust each other more and work more closely together.
I feel positive that this is the start of a new chapter in our history - this could be the beginning of a collaborative forum of partners that genuinely listen, act and respond to our community.
The key thing is that members of our community, everyone included, get involved and shape how Langholm and Eskdale moves forward.