Successful Projects

FACE PR C.I.C.

Year Completed: 
2017
Face PR C.I.C. is a social enterprise based near Duns. It provides a range of communications services to enable community groups, charities, social enterprises and other non-profit groups to promote the work that they do, at affordable rates. 
 
We received a grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund in 2017 towards the costs of establishing a website that community groups, charities, social enterprises and other voluntary sector organisations can use to promote what they are doing, advertise events and jobs, request volunteers and share information - all free of charge. 
 
Working with a local website developer, based in Duns, we began creating the site shortly after our grant was received. The website – www.linknews.org.uk – went “live” in August 2017.
 
Since then, it has been updated on a regular basis, offering news and features on the activities of third sector organisations across the Borders. The stories that we feature on the website are promoted through our social media channels, particularly the Link News Facebook page, which was created to coincide with the launch of the new website. It also allows organisations to highlight job opportunities free and to publicise their events.
 
The Blackhill grant allowed us to pay for a website developer to work with us to create the site, and also to provide free training for representatives of local organisations in Berwickshire in Wordpress (the content management system), allowing them to upload their own content to the site if required.
 
We are very grateful to Blackhill for the grant, without which we would have struggled to find the costs to develop the site. 
 
Our contribution has been to continue to update the site as part of Face PR’s community benefits.
 
Feedback on the website has been very good, from both the public and those organisations we seek to promote. 
 
We realise that online magazines are not for everyone, so in the coming months we will look at potential ways of providing information in a hard copy format if possible, given increasing print costs.  
 
There is still much to be done to promote the site as a free vehicle for charities, community groups and social enterprises to publicise the vital work that they do. Much of our staff time is spent updating the site, leaving little time to go out and market it to those organisations that could be using it.
 
The website includes advertising space, but we have done little to promote this and hope to do more in 2017. The idea behind this space is that advertisers can featured in a prominent area, for more time than a news post would usually appear on the site. We have managed to obtain some advertising income and again this is something we wish to try to increase in 2019. It would allow us to pay for ongoing maintenance and domain costs.
 We have used the prominent advertising space on occasion to promote Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund as a way of saying “thank you” for your grant and your support of the project.

 

Connect

Year Completed: 
2017
The three month pilot of shared youth activities was great fun for our young folk and staff team. We started off with a trip to Dunbar Pool with a coach load of young people from across our service.... and across Berwickshire. This was also a memorable trip as the photo below is considered by our staff to be one of the best of 2017. We ran youth sessions in Duns, Coldstream and Eyemouth where we put on transport between the three youth centres and this enabled our young folk to come together, share activities and get to know each other and what goes on in each youth centre. It wasn’t long before a group of young folk were planning a sail training voyage with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland. Money from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund contributed to the costs of this week of adventurous sail training in our beautiful Western Isles. Our crew of young people represented Berwickshire well and included young people from Coldstream, Duns and Eyemouth, as well as Auchencrow and Burnmouth. The sailing conditions and group dynamics meant that this was one of our more challenging to date, however, strong friendships were made during the week and when our young folk set sail again in the summer of 2018 with Cirdan Sailing Trust around the Channel Islands, we were able to include 2 young people as leaders/mentors to those that were on their first voyage.
 
After the funding period finished with our Blackhill grant, we made a successful bid to Scottish Borders Council Localities Bid Fund for the same type of funding that Blackhill provided. We used the Blackhill project as evidence of success and we were eventually awarded over £6,000 to carry on where we left off.  This enabled us to fully support travel costs for the whole summer programme including our Holiday Club children in Coldstream.  We were able to run our most ambitious programme to date including the above mentioned voyage to the Channel Islands, an Outward Bound adventure at Loch Lomond, trips to the 5 sisters Zoo and Blair Drummond Safari Par, Wet n Wild in Newcastle.
This winter we have already enjoyed shared activities between our centres and we have been able to make these less of a ‘one off’ and more a part of our core work.
All the young children and young people who took part in this project certainly made the most of the opportunities that this funding provided. Our staff team deserve much credit too, for making the activities so diverse and enjoyable.... and for seizing the initiative to continue to work ‘in the spirit of the grant.’
 
Steve Wright
Manager, Connect Berwickshire Youth Project
 

 

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Dunse History Society

Year Completed: 
2017

The Soldiers Remember

A History of southfield Auxiliary Military Hospital, Duns This book, published by Dunse History Society, describes in considerable detail the work of the southfield Auxiliary Military Hospital run by The Red cross for the convalescence of wounded soldiers during WW1.

It describes the early history of southfield House (now a community centre), its selection as a convalescent home for wounded soldiers and the background to Southfield and other Berwickshire Red cross Auxiliary Hospitals within the nationalframework for treating wounded soldiers. The book was published in July 201g with the help of a generous grant of f1800 from the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund to supplement design and printing costs'

The book is based on papers kindly donated to the Dunse History Society, by Mrs Judy Murray of Currie. The papers relate to the Speedy family who lived in Berwickshire, and in particular to the diaries and records of Margaret Mary (May) Speedy, the youngest of their three daughters. May Speedy worked as a V.A.D. Nurse at Southfield during wW1. Nurse Speedy left accounts of her time at Southfield in two diaries in which she had her patients write down their army experiences. These accounts, of which there are 78, are transcribed exactly as they appear in the diaries. ln addition, Nurse speedy obtained a number of photographs which have been used to illustrate the book together with diary entries that she herself made of her day to day activities. Together with considerable additiona! information gathered from local and national records, the book provides a detailed and intimate account of life of recovering soldiers in a military convalescent hospital.

The importance of this book reflects the fact that after the War the great majority of hospital and medical records were destroyed. Only a representative selection, less thanZYo, were preserved. The Southfield records, whose existence was until recently not widely known, is therefore not only an important record of life in Berwickshire during a major conflict, it is also a document of national importance in the records of The Great War.

500 copies of the book, which runs to 160 pages, were printed and it is being sold at a cost of f 10. The total cost of publication was f2786 and to date about 150 copies have been sold with sales income at about f500 with the book account still in deficit.

An article was written for The Borders Family History Magazine and 3 reviews, from The QARANC Nursing Association, Robert Dunn and The Long Long Trail, are also attached.

We are most grateful to The Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for the grant towards the publication. Any proceeds from the sale of the book once costs have been covered will be used to support the work of the Dunse History Society in various ways, including: preservation of local Berwickshire records, public lectures, exhibitions, restoration of the town bell.

Dunse History Society, january 2019

Friends of BHS Learning Centre

Year Completed: 
2017
Friends of Berwickshire High School Learning Centre             
Drascombe Sailability Longboat
 
The £4500 grant awarded by Black hill Community Hill enabled the purchase of the sailabilty boat. It was the final piece in the jigsaw after several years fundraising to achieve the £20,000 purchase price for boat and trailer.
 
The timing of this was fortuitous in that the purchase preceded an almost 20% rise in the present cost of the boat. Amongst those involved there is has been a feeling of “value for money.” along with the excitement of having a craft that can deliver on the educational and social aims of the project.
During the sailing season of 2018 young people found the boat a joy to sail.
 
Adult volunteers were trained in the the sailing skills required for working with children and adults with additional needs. The boat has proved to be very stable. The 2 masts and 3 sails that form the “ketch rig” is very manageable.  It allows both for a rapid reduction of sail should the wind pick up but conversely power can be gradually increased providing part of what is the excitement of sailing. The boat can be rowed can be rowed by 6 people at one time. This has proved a great way of mixing the more and less able.
 
A variety of local areas were successfully trialled for sailing with young people. This may be useful in the future should there not be easy access to the Whiteadder Reservoir as Scottish Borders Council decided not to fund the Whiteadder Sailing Base.
 
The non-opening of the base probably impacted on how quickly the project got up to speed. However we are now on track and as the boat should have a life of at least 30 years we are confident that the long term aims of the project are on course and those involved with the project are looking forward to the 2019 sailing season.
 
We would like to express our gratitude to Blackhill Community Fund towards the purchase of what is undoubtedly a beautiful boat with its significant social and educational benefits.
 
Andy Wishart
 

 

Borders Youth Theatre

Year Completed: 
2016
In January 2016 Borders Youth Theatre were awarded a grant of £2,000.00 from the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund towards their Intergenerational Project.  
 
The purpose of grant was to contribute to the costs of two workers who will co-ordinate links and interviews between young people at Duns Primary School and older residents of the Duns area.  With a view to developing a piece of theatre to be performed for the wider community, based on the information collected by the students.
 
The balance of funding came from BYT funds.  Throughout the year, Trustees work hard to secure funding from a variety of sources.  In addition, Trustees and participants carry out fund-raising through bake sales, sponsored events etc.
 
A group of older residents from the Duns area met weekly with both Primary 7 classes from Duns primary school to share experiences and allow the young people to interview the older members to try to find out about life as a young person 50 or more years ago.  Along with this, the leaders worked with the young people on a series of activities to develop drama skills.  The young people then used these skills to develop pieces of drama based on the experiences they heard.  The Drama Leaders helped put these together as two performances which were given to the rest of the school and to the older group, parents, friends and local residents.  The project was embraced by the whole community and was a great success.
 
The core group comprised two primary 7 classes from Duns Primary School - a total of 55 pupils  and a group of around 15 older residents.  (Some were not able to attend each week).  The performances were seen by the rest of the pupils in the school and by around 85 people from the local community.
Although the main benefit was to the core groups, the effect on the whole small community was considerable.  The general feeling at the start within the older group is that they are ‘helping the young people.  In fact, the project is as much for their benefit and, by the end, most appreciate this to be the case.  The benefits to the young people are seen in the summary of their feedback comments.
In addition to our project, three of the older group worked separately with the classes on a ‘Family Journeys’ project.  This was a useful spin-off which can continue in the future.
This was the latest in a series of projects we have been able to offer in Scottish Borders, mostly in the Berwickshire area. Following a pilot, these have developed successfully and are now well establishes as an excellent addition community project.  Schools and communities are very keen to be involved and we work hard to secure funding to satisfy these requests,  Without the grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund we would not have been able to deliver this project. There are two long-term impacts, one on Borders Youth Theatre and one on the Duns Community.  Firstly, as noted above, positive comments about the project continue to spread and we have a number of requests from other schools and communities.  We have also had requests from some of the older people to be included in future projects, even outside their own community.  We are planning the next project which will link with LIVE Borders Project Officer/Education and Outreach Officer with a view to future work on ‘Saving and Sharing: Stories of the Scottish Borders in World War One’ project.  As noted above, some of the older Duns residents continued to work with the young people and it is hoped that such links will continue.
 
For over 25 years, Borders Youth Theatre (BYT) has been providing high quality drama experiences for young people across Scottish Borders.  Through working with experienced professional leaders, young people gain new skills, particularly in communication; they develop creative and social skills and gain self-confidence; they work as part of a community.  These skills are essential in everyday life.  They also lead to excellent future opportunities, not just in Drama and Theatre, but in a wide variety of areas requiring these skills.  BYT provides weekly drama sessions run by experienced professionals in a variety of locations across the Borders for young people aged 8 to 25.  At present, these are in Duns, Jedburgh, Kelso, Melrose, and Selkirk. Fees are £4.50 per workshop paid termly. (unchanged for 4 years) BYT also performs acclaimed larger scale performances through the year, mainly during school holidays.  Around 150 young people are involved with BYT every week and many hundreds have benefited over the years
 
Although BYT contracts experienced professionals, the organisation is run by volunteer Trustees.  The Trustees are always looking for interested people willing to give a little time to help with organisation.
 

 

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