Successful Projects

Duns & District Twinning Association

Year Completed: 
2019

POLISH SOLDIERS IN THE SCOTTISH BORDER BOOKLET

In 2019 a grant application to the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund was submitted and successfully obtained, this amounted to £897 to pay for a further print run of 500 of the above titled booklets from the original printers.

Once the grant had been obtained the order was submitted and the booklets obtained.  Since then they are being distributed/sold to interested parties to raise awareness of the long term involvement in local life of these former soldiers and their descendants leading to the erection of the Plaque in Newtown Street, the Ware Memorial in the Park and Town Twinning activities.

Duns and District Twinng Association hearby acknowledges and is appreciative of the financial support from the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for our project.

Jim Carnie

Secretary

Duns & District Twinning Association

August 2020

Swinton Village Festival

Year Completed: 
2019

Swinton Village Festival 2019

Funds Received - £500.00

Our second "revival" Gala Day took place on Saturday 1st June 2019.  It turned out to be another well-attended event with resonably good weather and once again the King and Queen of the Merse were led by the Duns Pipe Band onto the Green.

Attached is a photo of one of the new stalls in 2019 set up by the Swinton Curling Club which gave the public a "taste" (plus free burgers for the first come first served) of what it might be like to try curling.

Thank you Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for again supporting our Gala Day and hopefully we can stage another one in 2021.

Regards

James Collin

Treasurer

 

Photo Gallery: 

Fogo Nursery

Year Completed: 
2019

FOGO NURSERY

Funds received - £1,200.00

We are pleased to say that we were able to complete our projcect of upgrading our kitchen and toilet facilities.

With the kind grant we were able to buy our Fridge/Freezer and Cooker.  This has made such a difference to the children and staff that used it prior to lockdown.

Thankfully, we are now open again and supplying all children with a hot meal at lunchtime and we can get Tesco deliveries as we have the fridge/freezer to store it all in.

Please see attached photos of the equipment in place.

Everyone at Fogo is grateful to you all for the kind grant that was awarded to us for these items, which we would not have able to buy had you not.

Kind regards

Nikki Anderson

Photo Gallery: 

Berwickshire Youth Piping and Drumming Foundation

Year Completed: 
2019

Berwickshire Youth Piping and Drumming Foundation

Funds Received - £2,200

Berwickshire Youth Piping and Drumming Foundation was set up with the mission to establish bagpipe and drumming tuition in five of the Berwickshire primary schools - Chirnside, Duns, Coldstream, Greenlaw and Swinton.  Our ambition, as set out in our application, was to attract between 40-60 pupils.  We have far exceeded this target with, pre Covid, around 90 pupils receiving lessons.  As well as introducing pupils to the discipline of learning a musical instrument, the tuition has been successful in establishing music as a cool thing to do and built pupils sense of achievement and self worth.  We believe that we are well on our way to achieving our initial objectives, which are:

  • To advance the musical eduaciton of the young people of Berwickshire.
  • To promote our national heritage and culture.
  • To increase public exposure to music and the performing art.
  • To build links between young people and the wider community.

The estabilishment of a school pipe band is one year closer.

The first step in estabilishing the tuition programme was to recuit a tutor and we were very fortunate to engage Andrew Warren (who also tutors at James Gillespies in Edinburgh) to deliver lessons.  His enthusiasm and hard work has played a large part in the success of the programme.  Lessons commenced in October, by February we were looking to intriduce another tutor to ensure that pupils could be taught in smaller groups and this would still be the plan once live lessons recommence.

The shutdown of schools in March did not mean an end to the teaching programme.  Lessons and tutorials were posted on line for children to complete and we hope this will have been sufficient to sustain interest and maintain numbers once we are able to start teaching in schools again.  Precisely when lessons can resume remains uncertain, however, as although schools have reopened, instrumental tuition has not restarted.  If this situation was to continue, we may have to pause the programme until the new year.

The much better than anticipated numbers meant that we had to purchase more practice chanters than anticipated.  We also took the decision to delay the introduciton of drummng tuition, primarly to lessen the demands on the schools timetable.  We were successful in gaining significant funding from Fallago Rig Community Fund and the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust and this, combined with the generous support from BWCF (for which we are very grateful) has meant that we were able to support the more intensive teaching programme and be in a solid financial position for the coming year.

Photos to follow.

Andrew Watson

 

Borders Youth Theatre

Year Completed: 
2018

I Still Mind O' That  

Duns Primary School Autumn Term 2018/19 Final Report

Overview
The Intergenerational Projects which Borders Youth Theatre began a number of years continue to develop.  The Projects bring together younger and older members of communities to meet and talk, share experiences and compare their lives.  The projects also help to break down uncertainties and suspicions which often exist between the generations, especially among older residents who have little contact with young people.   
 
We all live nowadays in a rapidly changing world.  The past 50 years or so, have seen enormous changes to the way we live our lives.  Things which were unthinkable even a few years ago are now commonplace.  It is not surprising that young people are often unaware of how different all aspects of life were.  Even where young people have regular contact with older relatives and neighbours, the past if rarely talked about.

The Duns 2018 Project
We have worked with Duns Primary School twice in the past.  The whole philosophy of the school fits well with our aims. Given the wonderful refurbishment and move to a new site which has recently taken place, we were especially keen to become involved.   
 
Although there are common themes within the projects, each is different.  It would be very easy to settle into a simple reconstruction.  It is important that projects are tailored to the specific needs of the school and the community.  Despite a short preparation forced by commitments on other projects, we were able to have quite detailed discussions with the Headteacher and staff and the project was adapted to address a range of Expectations and Outcomes in Literacy and Expressive Arts.

There were two other key considerations.
Firstly, we needed to identify the appropriate group of pupils.  The decision was to involve all Primary 5 pupils, some from the full P5 class and the remainder from a P4/5 mixed class.  This proved very successful.  The group worked very well together and, importantly, all of the Primary 5 pupils were able to work as one group.
 
The second consideration which had to be made was in the delivery of the project.  Duns is a large school and we had a total of around 40 young people.  In the past, we have tried to run two-part projects simultaneously to allow best access to the older group.  In this case, we changed the method quite radically.  The school is a busy place with any activities running simultaneously which meant that we actually moved activities around.  Although the small group question and answer sessions between young and old are still key, we also organised more ‘whole group’ activities and a recap session at the end of each day.  In this way, much more information was shared and, crucially, the whole group got to know one another. 

Process
Following discussions through August 2018, we met with pupils and staff in early September for two early sessions of drama and preparation. On week three, we were joined by some of the older group.  One of the key parts of these projects is to identify and involve sufficient older members of the community, not only to ensure a wide range of experiences, but also to ensure that everyone has a chance, young and old, to be involved.  It often takes a little time for word to get around and this was the case here.  However, the numbers grew quickly and by the end, we had involved a dozen members from the community, most coming regularly.  Two of the older group are residents at Boston Court and took part in the first Duns project a number of years ago.  One of the BYT staff collected and dropped them off each week. The whole group totally understood what was expected and were a joy to work with.  As usual, although the joint sessions were scheduled to last an hour, most lasted up to 90 minutes.

As described, above, we were keen to address a range of writing and recording skills with the young people.  This is not an easy task for them but with simplified materials, the P5s did an excellent job.  A record of the interviews was made by the young people and the collated responses were used by them as a secondary source from which they selected material to be used in drama work.  Some of the work was re-inforced by small ‘homework’ tasks, including using the dedicated website.
 
There was generally a different focus each week, looking at life 50 or 60 years ago – school life, home, entertainment etc which allowed questions and other materials to be prepared.
 
The final sessions were with the young people only.  With the help of the two leaders from Borders Youth Theatre, the young people tried to re-create some of these memories about which they had heard.  They developed short sketches showing aspects of life in school and at home as it might have been in 1958, 60 years ago.  These were then brought together and the result was an original piece of theatre which was performed at the School Hall to the older group, the rest of the school, and a group of between 40 parents/carers.  The performance was a mix of ensemble work and sketches showing the contract between life ‘then and now’.  It was great fun and was well received by all.

What better?
Thanks to the willingness of everyone at the school to make things work, organisation, though tricky, worked well.  BYT staff had a couple of availability issues which slightly limited the input to the final drama session.   When we are creating the drama, we try to be as flexible with the young people as possible and allow them as much freedom to develop and perform as we can.  The comment was made that, since we are the ‘experts’, there is a good argument for being more ‘directive’ in ‘teaching’ the drama process.  This is reasonable and something we will consider in the future.
 
A couple of projects ago, the suggestion was made that we set up a dedicated website for the Intergenerational Projects which would allow parents, friends and relatives to access information and contribute.  The website runs well and we have had some good input.  However, despite that fact that we assume young people (and many older) spend their lives glued to the internet, the website is underused.  We feel there is certainly something which can developed and we will be reviewing this.

What now?
As always, although the performance is an important part of the project which everyone can see, it is not the only aim.  More important are the links which have been made between older and younger generations, the sharing of information and experiences and the breaking down of some of the barriers and misconceptions which sometimes exist.   The young people have learned to gather then select and share information and to work with others to develop ways to portray this information.  They have learned drama skills and to work as a whole group to prepare something they can perform to a wider audience.  It is hoped the young people have also learned something of what their life might have been like 50 or more years ago and appreciate that older people have led interesting lives and are still interesting people.
 
As stated earlier, the older folk enjoyed meeting the young people and sharing their memories and experiences.  It is important that their experiences are validated and they understand that they still have an important contribution to make.  They also realise that although life now is very different to that of 50 or 60 years ago, young people are much the same.  

As with all BYT projects, we collected written and verbal feedback from everyone concerned and will use this to help influence our future work.  Some of the comments can be found at the end of this report.
 
As noted above, the whole philosophy of Duns Primary School fits with the project.  The head teacher is particularly interested in harnessing all the resources available from within the community, expecially some of the older rsidents who have a huge range of skills and exoperiences and so much to offer.  During a couple of the group session, she and her Depute had discussions with some of the older group to try to identify those who might be willing to contribute in some way within the school activities.  There was definite enthusiasm.  From experience, we know how difficult it is to see this through to practice.  However, the head teacher is both determined and focused and I’m sure that what she wishes will develop in some form.  That would be a perfect legacy for our project and we wish them well in that.  We will, of course, we happy to support in any way we can.
 
This project was possible because of part funding received from Blackhill Community Fund, operating through Foundation Scotland.
 
More information about BYT’s Intergenerational Projects can be found at www.byt.davidjbisset.co.uk or from David J Bisset or Oli Bisset at bytborders@gmail.com  For information about other BYT activities, visit www.bordersyouth theatre.co.uk