GIRVAN residents are being urged to come up with ideas for businesses that can benefit the South Carrick community.

What if...Girvan is inviting locals to come up with ideas that could benefit the wider community, such as celebrating their local heritage; producing and consuming food locally; getting people active and healthy, making connections between communities; reducing or reusing waste and repurposing existing empty spaces.

Successful applicants get access to a programme of support to develop their ideas into a viable venture, including mentoring and peer support, and up to £3000 of seed funding to test their ideas.

The criteria allows people living out with the area to apply as long as their proposed activity is delivered in the KA26 area.

Launched in 2016 by social enterprise development agency Firstport, What if...Girvan is already supporting five local people to develop their ideas, including an indoor farmers market, art workshops for young people and a coffee importing business.

One of the current participants on the three-year programme, Pearl McGibbon from Barrhill, applied last year with a long-held idea to set up and run a weekly, indoors farmers market in Girvan.

Having produced a range of jams and chutneys as well as Harris Tweed goods for many years, Pearl realised that a regular farmers market would be a great opportunity to showcase the great produce and crafts that the area has to offer.

Since taking part in What if...Girvan, Pearl has benefitted from one to one business support, as well as training and funding and is now running a weekly market every Friday.

Pearl said: “The support I have received through the programme has given me the tools and confidence to get my idea off the ground.

"I have always felt that the area would really benefit from a weekly market and the response from local producers and consumers has been overwhelmingly positive so far, which is very encouraging”.

Applications for What if...Girvan are open until May, 29. Drop in sessions and ideas workshops are being held at the Girvan Town House on Thursday, May 18 from 10am to 2pm and Thursday, May 25 from 2pm to 6pm.

People are also invited to contact if they would like to discuss an idea.