The town pilot: Kilmarnock

Kilmarnock launched in June 2019 as our second Reviving Thriving Local Economies pilot.

Demos Projects researched and produced the Kilmarnock Life Chances Report (Q2 2019) outlining the background to Kilmarnock’s economy, current challenges and initiatives. The report in turn provided the basis for Demos Projects’ Kilmarnock Interventions Report (Q3 2019), setting out possible solutions in which various local stakeholders could have a role, and recommended areas of intervention specific to our RTLE project.

Throughout 2020 Barclays liaised virtually with East Ayrshire Council to discuss and agree the proposed areas of intervention where Barclays could help the community of Kilmarnock.

We started delivering a LifeSkills programme to approximately 620 S2 students (Year 9 equivalent in England and Wales) in a number of local schools. The programme uses interactive workshops to help young people identify and develop their personal skills and learn how to sell these skills to employers, as well as providing employer encounters.

A Deep Impact LifeSkills Programme to 30 S3 students (Year 10 equivalent in England and Wales) which was put on hold due to the outbreak of COVID, has resumed.

Barclays’ graduate and apprentice programmes have been promoted within Ayrshire College with 6 students already gaining full time positions as a result. The 2021 apprenticeship recruitment process is currently underway in Q1 2021.

Under the project pillar the Barclays Business Support,  Business and Agriculture teams hosted a business breakfast event focused on business resilience and a further one in December 2020 on adapting to the current environment which included guidance and support for businesses digitising their business and creating an online presence. Further similar events will follow during 2021.  Support is available to all businesses through the Funding Readiness programme, Back to Business programme, Eagle Lab support hub and our local relationship managers.

The team participated in the Council-led ‘Vow to WoW’ event which saw businesses and community groups gather and commit to pledges to help enhance Kilmarnock.  Additionally, a Ladies Lunch was undertaken alongside Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and Barclays’ partner Investing Women to provide insight to local business owners and entrepreneurs on the journey from start-up to success, including how to pitch for grants and funding.

Currently the team is supporting Kilmarnock Business Association in the drive to increase local business utilisation and recovery in Kilmarnock, including a virtual mall initiative and the East Ayrshire gift card. Over the course of 2021 we will deliver financial wellbeing and mentoring sessions as well as Recovery support guidance to the Association members.

Barclays’ volunteers and our Digital Eagle colleagues have continued to deliver workshops on digital skills, employment skills and financial wellbeing to a number of charities and their beneficiaries as well as corporates and college students. Support is also underway with Ayrshire College to assist budding entrepreneur students with their activities.

Kilmarnock’s HALO Regeneration Project will open in 2021 and with it Barclays’ third Eagle Lab in Scotland. This will be within the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre and will give local businesses and entrepreneurs access to a network of start-up specialists and business mentors and partners.