Successful Projects

RHET Scottish Borders

Year Completed: 
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.


Berwickshire High School

Year Completed: 
Berwickshire High School received funding In October 2016 towards replacing the equipment in the fitness suite. 
Dear Keith, (BWCF Chair)
I wish to convey my personal and sincere appreciation for the generosity of you and the Black Hill Windfarm.
Your heart felt contribution will continue to promote ambition in learning in general as well as promote health and well-being specifically and I think it is such a wonderful, value creative legacy to give to our local school and community.
The new equipment purchased through Origin Fitness allows students and staff to have greater variety in fitness methods and is designed towards improving and maintaining levels of personal fitness. The use of a ‘functional’ training rig will allow users to access the same high standard of equipment as used in private gyms with a shift in the focus of fitness to a much more practical full body workout.
Due to your generosity we also managed to purchase additional rig accessories including slam balls, sand bags, a boxing station, battle ropes and an adjustable pulley machine which allows users to work-out and exercise their muscles in a similar way to how our bodies function in everyday life.
The fitness suite also now benefits from two extra spin bikes and a leg press/calf raise resistance machine. The young people of Berwickshire High School are already benefitting from this wider array of exercise which the increased gym equipment allows.
I wish to take the opportunity to sincerely thank you. I really feel that your investment will inspire our young people and the community of Berwickshire in many ways, and I believe one cannot put a monetary value on giving such inspiration.
If you wish to visit our school, please do not hesitate to contact me. You are most welcome.
On behalf of Berwickshire High School and the local community I wish you all the best in your projects to come.
Yours sincerely
Scott Steele


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Border Water Rescue Team

Year Completed: 
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 Healy


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Abbey St Bathans, Preston & Bonkyl Community Council

Year Completed: 

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: 

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'