AN AMBITIOUS plan to launch a historical Virtual Reality Trail in Girvan fell through recently with lots of locals having to be reimbursed of their funding donations.

Future Unwritten Girvan attracted lots of interest in the area, with local businesses and residents raising a huge £9,000 towards the project. There was even interest abroad as donations came in from America to support the idea in tribute to their parents’ homeland.

Ros Halley, Managing Director at Tartan Jigsaw, led the campaign for over 18 months, but sadly had to announce it will not be going ahead due to key funding from public bodies not being granted.

Future Unwritten Girvan announced: “It is with a heavy heart that I need to inform all those who have supported our project that for the moment at least we will not be progressing our plans to develop an Augmented Reality Heritage Trail in Girvan. After 18 months of trying to convince various bodies to financially support this town project, we finally got notice last week that our latest application was not successful.

Ayr Advertiser:

“The trustees felt that the project would benefit the town but they didn’t feel that they could support something so different. So thank you for all that you have done, especially for participating in the Memory Gallery, the Learning Journeys and making the two films! The Tartan Jigsaw team hopes to work again with the town in the future.”

The cost of the project would have came to a total of around £75,000 which relied on partnership with Ayrshire College and money from the College Funding Foundation.

The ideas were taken seriously but the commitment to follow through was not there.

Ros said: “We’ve been working on this since our last project finished at the end of 2017, and tried to raise enough money to make the trail happen and raised a lot.

But all the excitement from the local bodies didn’t translate into them raising the funds.

“We came at it with a grassroots approach, involving people and local businesses.

"The college input would’ve involved young people writing scripts, making costumes, and make-up artistry.

“For about three to four months we were engaging with the college. About five departments were interested in getting involved and providing the opportunity for students.

"They said it’d be good to implement it as part of their course. We were hoping with that it would attract the money from the college funding foundation.”

Ros says the idea was supported but everybody needed to get behind it. She added: “There was no way of doing it as just a part of it. It was either all or nothing. The real frustration is that we tried to follow guidance and do it the right way for the students but now they won’t have that opportunity.”

Ayr Advertiser:

Now, donations supporting the augmented reality trail are being paid back, but it’s not just locals being reimburs ed. The idea even attracted attention across the pond. Ros said: “We ended up having to reimburse people who had contributed to the funding, there were people from America as well that had ancestors from Carrick and wanted to do their bit for their mum and dad’s homeland.”

However, Ros didn’t rule out the project coming to light again: “I suppose any town in Ayrshire could benefit from the concept. I’ve not given up hope, it’s still on the table.

"I’ve been invited to the World Community Development Conference in Dundee so if it’s raised there you never know people outwith might be able to see that a place like Girvan could benefit from something like this. But for now the core key funding is not there.”