Berwickshire Agricultural Association were successful in obtaining a £2500 grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund in autumn 2015, which enabled the replacement of a considerable proportion of the wooden sheep hurdles that are used for Berwickshire County Show and other events. The stock of hurdles were 30 + years old and had been repaired in many cases. As prevention of disease at sheep gatherings is of paramount importance and a regulatory responsibility, it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify repair of the wooden hurdles because they were difficult to clean to an acceptable standard. Further, our stock of hurdles is loaned out to the local pony club and farmers for lambing so it made sense to try to raise funds to replace the stock with metal hurdles.
The award from Blackhill Community Fund allowed us to replace the wooden hurdles with 254 5ft hurdles, and we were also able to purchase 4 metal stacking pallets with which to store and more easily transport the metal hurdles before and after the show period.
Berwickshire County Show attracts a significant number of both local and farther travelled sheep to the breed sections held on the 1st Saturday of August. Last year’s event saw nearly 300 individual sheep entries and over 50 different exhibitors from as far afield as East Lothian, Northumberland and Roxburghshire, and this number is increasing year on year. Good quality, easily assembled sheep accommodation for the show is essential to make best use of time during set up and on the day, while ensuring that animal health standards are met. We are very pleased and proud to have a stock of sheep gates that are useful for show purposes, but can be of use to other groups and farmers during the rest of the year. Many thanks to Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for making this happen.
Community Cinema Gavinton
Because of the generosity and commitment to the promotion of Community endeavours in our region by Blackhill Windfarm and Awards for All Scotland, the Community Cinema Gavinton was able to open its doors in April this year. In order to demonstrate the ‘state of the art’ equipment that the funding had allowed, as well as to introduce the team of volunteers, an Open Day was held, with an enthusiastically received screening of the popular Children’s (and Adult’s) film, ‘Frozen’! Amateur film footage, by two local teenagers, who are part of the group of volunteers, was also shown and proved particularly thought provoking and well received!
There was lots of interest shown from different sectors of the community, and as a result it was decided that one family Matinee, and one evening screening per month would be the format. The feedback also informed the subsequent programme of films from 24th May to 16th August.
Community Cinema Gavinton (CCG) is in the fortunate position of having a refurbished Village Hall as its venue, which is both comfortable and accessible, allowing members of the community, who might otherwise be marginalized, to enjoy the cinema experience too. One wheelchair user, and partner, commented enthusiastically that they would both ‘definitely be coming back!’
When the Lego Movie was screened in June, the Cinema was fortunate enough to be able to show an amateur film ‘Lego Halloween’ by a young budding filmmaker from the village of Gavinton. This was a superb piece of footage and something that the group is very keen to promote as part of a future venture into amateur film making. Needless to say, the audience was greatly impressed!
Despite the vagaries of the Scottish weather, and holiday commitments, the community has responded very positively to this emerging facility, with lots of ideas for further development. Still in its infancy, it is being propelled by a very enthusiastic and dedicated group of volunteers, who are making great efforts to promote and enhance this facility for the future. CCG is a member of BFFS (Cinema for All), as well as (being on the cusp of) membership to Film Hub Scotland. Shared experience has been gained from other Community Cinemas and Society groups, which has proved extremely useful.
Publicity for the project has taken many forms (a few of which are attached):
Having spoken recently to someone who has done exactly what the group is aiming to do, it was impressed upon the volunteers that there is a fluctuating level of success in this kind of venture, and that it will take time to become integrated as part of the community’s social calendar. As the group has enthusiasm, perseverance and fortitude, hearing this was both a challenge and, paradoxically, reassuring!
Duns Youth Cafe Project 2014
The grant from Blackhill Windfarm Community fund has enabled us to make the necessary changes to Duns Youth Centre (Connect Headquarters) for the organisation to continue to develop and it has had a huge impact. There have been two key areas that we have been able to develop.
The cafe bar area used to be upstairs on the mezzanine floor but is now downstairs in the main hall area. The bar area is larger now, with new double sinks a new cooker and hob (which we didn’t have before) and an up-cycled fitted kitchen which was donated by Countryside Kitchens. Staff and young people have told us that they think that the improvements have been ‘amazing.’
The new cafe area has also greatly benefitted ‘Open Doors’ weekly coffee morning which is run by a group of elderly volunteers. The old routine involved many trips up and down the stairs to fetch and carry crockery, boiling water and washing up. The new routine is much better and a lot safer as there is no need to go up and down the stairs. All the volunteers agree that the improvements have had a massive impact.
Upstairs, on the mezzanine floor there is now an office space that did not exist before the refurbishment. Before, there were two computers on top of a long cupboard and staff used to sit on bar stools to do their work.
The new office space provides space for three members of staff to have access to a desk and computer and sufficient access to space in filing cabinets etc. This has been especially helpful as our staff team has grown and the demands on our resources have increased. We have created a ‘hub’ for the organisation both upstairs and downstairs.
Once the refurbishments were complete we applied to Comic Relief for funding for a Cafe worker to develop the cafe activities. The funding bid was successful and we started the cafe project in October 2014. The youth cafe is open every day at lunchtime and three evenings a week as well as the weekly Open Doors coffee morning.
We are also developing employability and inter-generational projects which will use the cafe area for social enterprise initiatives and work experience.
We expect to be using the facilities that this grant provided for many years to come