Successful Projects

Border Water Rescue Team

Year Completed: 
2016
Rescue Sled
 
Following receipt of Grant funding for a Rescue Sled in June 2016, final research was concluded and WRS Limited, a company identified as a potential provider came to July training with a sled for the team to try before purchasing. 
 
The use of the Sled was reaffirmed at this training and the Trustees decided to raise a purchase order to complete the purchase (which was finalised at £2,176.80 incl bag and paddles).  The Rescue Sled was delivered to the team in the autumn 2016 and has formed part of the monthly training sessions to orientate our volunteers.  The Sled has been branded with BWRT name and also the Blackhill Wind Farm Logo on the inner tube. 
 
In early 2017, the Training Officer signed off members as competent for use and the Sled was then considered to be a part of our operational equipment.  
 
The sled is envisaged to be valuable in situations where we need to evacuate a casualty from a body of water.  Its’ design allows the sled to carry 2 rescuers and 1 casualty and considerably improves our ability to rescue casualties from swift water. 
 
The sled has been deployed recently as available safety equipment when we provided water rescue cover for local Common Ridings (cavalcade river crossings) and will continue to be an essential part of our kit going forward.  
 
We view this acquisition to be a key development in the team’s equipment and would like to add our thanks for your support.  As you know, we are a charitable organisation registered with Scottish Charity Regulator.   The team has 26 volunteer members.  We support the Emergency Services in searching for missing individuals.   Since inception, all funds have been raised for equipment and the training our members.  
Michelle
Michelle Healy
Trustee
 

 

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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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RHET Scottish Borders

Year Completed: 
2016
I am writing this report after two hugely successful days at Longformacus Estate. With the help of the grant Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund so kindly gave RHET Scottish Borders we were able to educate over 180 children during the two day event!
 
Mr Charles approached RHET to help arrange an event with Duns Primary School which soon turned into us suggesting with our help he could have a much larger event.  Therefore on Monday 6th June we had out onto the Estate the whole of S2 from Berwickshire High School in Duns around 125 children. On Tuesday 7th June both primary 6 classes from Duns Primary School came out for a farm tour.
Mr Charles and his three staff with our help and support came up with five sessions for the S2’s to undertake during the day. The year was split into 5 groups and they sent around 45minutes on each session. 
 
Sessions were as follows:
General Introduction – Estate Management
The owner of the Estate gave a brief back ground on the Estate and some information on Estate management.
 
Session 1 High Ground Management & use. 
In this session they discussed the management of the heather ground covering area such as heather burning and the importance of this land for the birds and other wildlife it supports. The gamekeeper went go into detail of his main roles and what his job entails. Discussions were be had about the working dogs used, breeds and uses.
 
Session 2 Low Ground Management & use
This session looked at the differences between high and low ground management. The gamekeepers went into details about the rearing of the birds and vermin control, including different traps and reasons for controlling different types of vermin. Woodland management was also discussed. Discussions were had about the working dogs used, breeds and uses.
 
Session 3 Farming on the Estate
They looked at the livestock on the farm, fields being rented out for sheep. The life cycle of the sheep and the care required. A clipping demonstration and foot trimming demonstration were under taken .The main machinery used in the farming enterprise was looked at.
 
Session 4 Estate Maintenance
The maintenance on a large estate was looked at covering a wide range of topics. Forestry, gardening, care of old buildings using the traditional skills and the use of up to date technology. A huge focus was on careers.
 
Session 5 River Life – Tweed Foundation
Tweed Foundation discussed the life of the river, using electro-fishing to show the species present and the care the river requires. Children got up close to the fish and learned about their life cycles.
The feedback from both staff and pupils was fantastic and very keen to undertake a similar event on an annual basis. The weather was very sunny on the day which helped hugely but there was concerns that if the weather had changed there was no indoor areas to carry on the sessions in. The village hall was used for lunches a short walk away but this would be too small for teaching.
 
On the second day we had two P6 classes out to the estate each for around two hours. During their time on the estate they were split into two groups and one half spent time with the Tweed Foundation and undertook a very similar session as the High School did but at a lower level. The other half of their time was spent having a farm walk where they saw the tools used to maintain the buildings and gardens on the Estate, they had a session on the sheep, care, usage etc. Then they discussed gamekeeping as a career covering all aspects and seeing the working dogs, traps and young birds. Again these visits were enjoyed hugely by staff and pupils and we hope to be able to arrange similar in the future.
 
RHET Scottish Borders is hugely appreciative for the grant funding supplied to us and without that support this event would have not be able to take place with the huge amount of man hours it takes to arrange visits like this, between communicating with the schools, volunteers, carrying out risk assessments, having pre visit to meet the teachers and show them around and evaluating the project at the end.
 
Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund was recognised as much as possible with your logo being on all the flyers and handouts. We have emailed a report to the Berwickshire News and hope this may be printed to further acknowledge all the support we have had.
 
Mr Charles is keen to have this event again in future which is this best news RHET Scottish Borders could ask for.
I

 

Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council

Year Completed: 
2015

Grant Recipient: Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council
Grant Awarded: £1000

In 2014 Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council began an extensive  community consultation exercise to help us develop a collective vision for future community led regeneration in our area. Following a series of community events, stakeholder interviews and focus group meetings a Community Action Plan was produced which outlined the key  projects & activities people in the community wanted to see happen over the next 2-3 years, including a playpark in Preston, a community broadband scheme and a new village hall in Abbey St Bathans. The grant from the Blackhill Community Windfarm Fund contributed towards the cost of printing and distributing a copy the plan to every household in the community council area.  A new community organisation, the Preston & Abbey Community Trust has been established to lead on the delivery of these projects and new volunteers, identified through the consultation process, have been recruited onto the board of the Trust. Work is already progressing on a broadband project and a new village hall for Abbey St Bathans.

A Heart For Duns

Year Completed: 
2015

Blackhill Wind Farm Community Grant

 

A Heart for Duns (AHFD) was awarded £4,750.00 in a letter dated 22 August 2014. The grant was for:

Professional Support                                       3,250.00

Subscriptions and Travel expenses                    500.00

Training and Development                               1,000.00

In late August 2014 AHFD achieved SCIO status (SC045056). In the period from September to December 2014 AHFD continued to offer a range of events in the Volunteer Hall, Duns while developing its ideas for the future, with a Feasibility Study and Business Plan funded by Big Lottery.

AHFD was also negotiating with Scottish Borders Council (SBC), the tenant and operator of the building, and the Lowland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (LRFCA), the owners, to take on the lease of the Volunteer Hall, following SBC’s decision to focus on premises that it owns and to withdraw from leased venues. Agreement was reached in principle for AHFD to take on the lease with effect from 6 April 2015, with financial support from SBC and in kind support from LRFCA, both for an initial period of three years.

Although the lease has yet to be signed, its terms have been agreed and AHFD did take responsibility for the operation of the Hall on 6 April. In order to achieve this AHFD has appointed an Administration/Events Support Officer, funded in part by the Wind Farm grant, and a Housekeeper, funded from earned income.

In addition volunteers have received a range of training, primarily related to the operation of bars and catering facilities. In addition further training is planned in first aid and for scaffolding safety. The Convenor undertook a media relations course at Carlisle.

Volunteers have also participated in the work of the Borders Touring Network, including attending meetings, visiting theatre groups and performances.

This grant has been crucial to giving AHFD the confidence to take on the operation of the Hall and to safeguarding this popular facility for the people of Duns.

Derek Janes                                                                                     January 2016

Photo - 'The Scratch Choir performing Handel's Messiah in the Volunteer Hall to mark the Hall's 120th anniversary in February 2015'