In 2009 the residents in the village of Frøstrup decided to take action in an attempt to rescue their village from a downward spiral of derelict houses and general decline. The aim was to restore the status of Frøstrup as an attractive place to live for people of all ages. The local residents association announced a town meeting where over 200 citizens produced an ambitious plan for the regeneration of Frøstrup. Work on realizing the plan was initialized in cooperation with Thisted municipality city council and the philanthropic “Land of Possibilities” program exploring new ways to further development in rural areas and funded by the civil society organization Realdania. Projects under this initiative have already been ideally realized but everyone involved in the urban renewal of Frøstrup knows that resting on one’s laurels is not an option. Continuation of this positive trend requires hard work and the citizens of Frøstrup are prepared to do just that. They have seen that through volunteering and cooperation it is possible to shape your community and move boundaries.
The Community Grounds at Søndergade 16
One of the wishes expressed in the regeneration plan was to establish a community area in connection to the sports field and Søndergade 16 was chosen as the best location. The derelict house on the ground was demolished by Thisted Municipality as part of the municipal plans for improving living conditions in small villages and rural areas by clearing away desolate houses thus making room for new houses or local initiatives like a village green or a playground. The empty lot was given to the residents association in Frøstrup and work on establishing the community grounds began as a joint venture between the residents association, the sports association, the local bank and the owner of the neighbouring lot. The area is part of an extensive upgrading of the whole area surrounding the sports field.
Seating for spectators along one side of the playing field has been established as well as a new parking lot significantly improving conditions for spectators at sports venues. A new play/fitness ground is in the making and the area opens up for new initiatives like concerts, theater or an annual apple festival. The surroundings will be planted with various trees and bushes and Frøstrup Miniature Village is working on a miniature replica of the old Frøstrup water mill to be placed at the new community grounds.
The community grounds are located in the vicinity of the old Frøstrup Inn and are an integrated part of the renovation scheme in which the inn was converted to a community centre in connection with the “Land of Possibilities” project. The community grounds project has been funded by the Danish government and LAG Thy-Mors, the local branch of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Finally Thisted Municipality contributed with funding from a reserve set aside to compensate citizens for the establishing of the National Testing Centre for Large Wind Turbines in nearby Østerild Plantation.
The Old Inn in Frøstrup – A Modern Community House
A new meeting place for people of all ages in Frøstrup and surrounding areas was a prevailing point in the plans for a new and improved Frøstrup. An enterprising local community like Frøstrup must have a well functioning meeting place, which the inn historically had provided hosting everything from weddings and funerals to harvest festivals and Christmas parties. Yet the building had become outdated, finances were bad and the place was no longer suited for gatherings. But a group of local entrepreneurs saw the potential of the old building and formed the association Hannik, who bought the place and began a remarkable renovation program with economic support from Thisted Municipality, Realdania, the Ministry for Housing, Rural and Urban Affairs and architects Rødbro and Frederiksen. After a colossal effort from volunteers the old inn in Frøstrup is now a modern, highly profiled community house with room for associations, clubs, meetings and many other activities. The inn has once again become a social meeting place, cultural center and community house financed by renting out its facilities and by an impressive volunteer effort. The project has played an important role in profiling the village which everyone in Frøstrup is aware of is essential in attracting new villagers to Frøstrup.
All through the process of regenerating Frøstrup an important factor has been the sense of partnership between the people of Frøstrup and the city council in Thisted. Citizen involvement is the glue that holds the projects together and ensures a sense of ownership that is paramount to the continued success of all the predominantly volunteer based initiatives. The regenerating / rethinking process has restored people’s pride in their village and the recipe for success is generously passed on: “Now is the time for unity – we must stand together if we are serious about the future of our village”.