Penicuik First has been in operation since July 2015 and is funded by contributions from town centre businesses. Its modest annual budget of under £30,000 has been bolstered by securing external funding to deliver projects in the community, all with a focus on making Penicuik a better place to live, work, visit, shop and trade.
For further details about Penicuik First, how it came to be, and how the below projects were chosen, please refer to the BID section of this website.
In Penicuik, the first Friday of every month (except January) is market day! Run by Penicuik First and operated day to day by MarketCraft, the Penicuik Market has become a town centre institution, offering a wide variety of artisan goods of the highest quality and all locally produced. The inaugural Penicuik Market took place on 1st May 2015, even before Penicuik First had fully come in to existence.
The market has brought tens of thousands of shoppers to Penicuik town centre, showing (or reminding) them just how much Penicuik town centre has on offer every day (have a look at our business directory to see for yourself!). On a typical Penicuik Market day, you will find stalls offering:
To find out exactly who’s coming to the next market, follow Penicuik First on Facebook.
Bigger and better every year, the event has secured its place as one of the most important dates in the Penicuik calendar! Stallholders offer special festive goods and the businesses of Penicuik stay open until 8pm to take part in the ever-expanding community event, which sees several thousand festive shoppers get in the Christmas spirit, tick a few items of their Christmas shopping lists, and enjoy spending time in the heart of the community with family and friends.
Family activities and performances for all ages include fairground rides, a petting zoo, puppet shows, magicians, science experiments, pony rides, bungee trampolines, face painting, butterfly displays, prize treasure hunt, pipe bands, silver bands, choirs… and, of course, Santa!
As the awesome spectacle that is the Christmas Market draws to a close each year, it’s time to switch on Penicuik’s stunning Christmas lights, which, like the market, get bigger and more spectacular each year. In 2016, Penicuik First installed beautiful “icicle” lighting up and down the High Street and in 2017, they were extended to cover the John Street precinct. Tree lights on the High Street ensure nobody can miss this festive extravaganza.
The switch-on ceremony itself sees a different special citizen drop the plunger and illuminate the town, while Penicuik families and friends link arms and sing Christmas carols.
Every summer, Penicuik First covers the town centre in a riot of colour, supplying hanging baskets on the High Street and John Street precinct. Penicuik High Street is an arterial road between Edinburgh and the Borders and it’s important that the town is attractive to people, who might not otherwise pay attention to our little gem of a town. First impressions are everything, after all!
Like any town, Penicuik occasionally suffers from anti-social behaviour and Penicuik First has a responsibility to fight back. Having originally proposed to fund improvements to existing CCTV in the town centre, Penicuik First devised a more effective and affordable solution by offering each town centre business a bespoke internal CCTV system, along with staff guidance on its use, allowing business owners to view remotely and record footage to defend against shoplifting and anti-social behaviour across the whole town centre.
Penicuik First is run by local businesses, for local businesses. A Board of volunteer Directors from the Penicuik business community, alongside Elected Members of Midlothian Council, oversee the running of the company, with support from a part-time Project Coordinator. All BID member businesses are invited to a monthly surgery to discuss ideas, share proposals, and offer their views on how the BID should be run. If your business is part of the Penicuik First BID area and you’d like to arrange a meeting, or just start a conversation, just use the contact form on this site.
Following several instances of counterfeit currency being used in the town centre, Penicuik First has armed its member businesses against criminals attempting to pass fake notes. High-quality UV lamps, detector pens, warning stickers and staff guidance notes were offered to all BID member businesses in a concerted effort to stamp out counterfeit currency in Penicuik for good.
This website developed by Penicuik First and designed by 45b Web Design. We think you’ll agree that it’s a great promotional tool for Penicuik, showing what’s on offer and providing invaluable information to residents, visitors, and businesses. Previously, Penicuik lacked a “go-to” town centre website, despite playing host to a formidable host of independent businesses, attractions and community activity.
Of all 40 Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Scotland, Penicuik First has been the most effective at leveraging external funding each year since its inception in 2015. Its annual budget of under £30,000 has to date been bolstered by support from the European Union, Cycling Scotland, Scottish Government, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, Business Gateway and Zero Waste Scotland. Acting alone, Penicuik First has secured over £40,000 additional investment in Penicuik town centre. Working with partners Midlothian Council and Penicuik Community Alliance, this figure increases to around £3,500,000, almost all of which is yet to be implemented. Penicuik is set for some even more serious regeneration, thanks to Penicuik First and its partners.
Penicuik First offers small amounts of financial support to valued community groups, such as Penicuik Community First Responders, youth football teams, Hunter & Lass and more. Just as valuable as this support, however, is a willingness to collaborate with like-minded community groups, such as Penicuik Community Alliance, Penicuik & District Community Council, Penicuik Community Development Trust, Penicuik Community Arts Association and Penicuik Cycling. Many hands make light work!
As part of a wider project, for which European Union funding was secured, the Board and staff of Penicuik First rolled up their sleeves and brought a fresh lease of life to a previously dilapidated commercial unit on John Street precinct, making it a more attractive prospect to potential new tenants.
Again, Penicuik First will ensure that Penicuik Heritage Regeneration funding is used to completely renovate unsightly vacant properties in the BID area.
The second edition of Penicuik First’s hugely popular “Journey To Penicuik” visitor’s guide will be published in 2018. The first edition saw 20,000 copies of the glossy 16-page booklet delivered to businesses, public buildings and attractions across Midlothian, as well as around 8,000 homes across Penicuik itself.
Penicuik First is not shy of shouting about its achievements, but it’s more important to promote the town in general. Penicuik First keeps in regular contact with publishers of the Midlothian Advertiser, Penicuik & District Town Crier, Penicuik Cuckoo and Midlothian News, keeping them updated with town centre news and promoting events and community activity in Penicuik all year round.
Penicuik First supported the Penicuik Community First Responders by purchasing and installing a community defibrillator in the John Street precinct. If you see anybody appearing to suffer cardiac arrest in Penicuik town centre, don’t be afraid to use the community defibrillator – if it detects that the person it is applied to is not suffering cardiac arrest, it will not activate… and don’t worry, the Penicuik Community First Responders are never far away!
The ever-popular “Gear Up!” event aims to get people of all ages using the healthiest and most enjoyable form of sustainable transport: the bike! Spectacular stunt shows on the High Street get the adrenaline pumping, before free bike hire and e-bike trials are offered openly to the public. A “led ride” closes the event, with families and enthusiasts joining a qualified ride leader on a gentle cycle along Midlothian’s excellent cycle paths, before returning to Penicuik for a participation prize giveaway! The event is always operated using external funding, so people are brought to Penicuik town centre for a healthy, fun event, and to use the shops, at no cost from the core budget.
A worsening problem in Penicuik town centre is that of residential and commercial waste. Unsightly bins plague Bank Street and many areas behind John Street, attracting rats, gulls and other vermin.
Penicuik First has secured funding to produce a brand new strategy, using expert consultants and in direct communication with Zero Waste Scotland. Only three companies in Scotland were lucky enough to secure the funding, but given past form, it should come as no surprise that Penicuik First was one of them!
Penicuik is a great place to do business. Check our A-Z business directory.Business A-Z
Penicuik is a bustling market town just south of Edinburgh.Things to do in Penicuik
Penicuik has a lot to offer. There are lots of local groups available.Find out what's happening