Successful Projects

Interest Links

Year Completed: 
2015
Interest Link Report to Blackhill Windfarm Fund on the grant of £1,500 made in December 2015.
 
1. Aim
We aimed to benefit 10 people with learning disabilities in Duns and Gavinton, and achieved exactly that (all live in Duns) through the 1:1 links and the four befriending groups we run. Over the whole of Berwickshire, 48 children, young people and adults with learning disabilities benefited, along with over 70 carers.  This report covers all our activities in Berwickshire, not just the ones specifically funded by the grant.
 
2. Activities included:
People linked 1-1 have gone fruit picking, to the beach, swimming, walking, making stop animations, going to the cinema, visiting Dunbar, having lunch, drawing,  dancing at a Country & Western Club, lunch at Carfraemill, visiting the the Hirsel, visiting Edinburgh Dungeons and going on train journeys o the new Borders Railway.
The three youth groups (Children’s, Young people’s and ACE groups) did a great range of activities, including: bushcraft and wild play sessions; scrapbooking, Halloween and Christmas parties, going to the panto, group games, film nights, arts and crafts, Decoupage sessions, bingo, parachute games, sock tig, and pottery sessions.
The Children’s Group and Youth Group both had large drama/film projects, which can be seen on the Videos page of our website at www.interestlink.org.uk
2016 Berwickshire Art and Evaluation, with two spin-off films. This was a children’s art project, but with a strong evaluation angle with input from children, volunteers and parents.
2016 Interest Link Through The Ages and 2016 Interest Link News: these were entirely for fun, with heavy use being made of green screen to insert backdrops.
Both sets of films were premiered to group members’ family and friends.
The adult Coldstream Group had BBQs, played croquet, giant jenga, tried archery, went to the beach at Berwick-on-Tweed where they paddled in the sea, collected shells and flew kites. They enjoyed scrapbooking, a quiz, crocheting, decorating mugs, darts and table football. Something for everyone!
 
3. The difference made:
The main intended outcomes for the project included (as per Section 3.b. of our application):
It will foster the social networks of people with learning disabilities and increase their community engagement with local organisations, activities and initiatives.
It will overcome the barriers that can prevent them from enjoying a high quality of life, improving their confidence, self-esteem, life skills and physical & mental wellbeing. 
It will provide high quality respite for carers, improving their wellbeing and making family life more sustainable.
We work to create true and equal friendships and social networks, in the firm belief that these are essential for human happiness. The more specific outcomes we are looking for (happiness, confidence, self-esteem and lifeskills) flow as a natural result of these friendships, and the evidence below hopefully illustrates them in all their diversity.  Benefits for carers are also reliable: parents can really enjoy their respite because they know the person they care for is enjoying themselves with trusted friends.
An independent evaluation of the Coldstream Group is attached: this is structured round the outcomes we aimed at for people with learning disabilities, with sections on Happiness, Self-belief and confidence, Lifeskills and Friendship 4 recent case studies are also attached, and look at the benefits to people with learning disabilities and carers.
 
Quotes from recent evaluation workshops illustrate the wide range of impacts, including those on volunteers.
The parents quotes are probably the best perspective on benefit, for example:
“She feels (one of the volunteers) is the best thing ever, she has made friends here. It’s difficult for her to try new things, this has helped her confidence to try. I remind her how she didn’t want to come to this group to start with and how much she loves it now – so I use it as an example and she’s more likely to try something else.”
 
“I’d like to say how much I appreciate the brilliant work you guys do and the positive effect you have on S.  He really enjoys the group and looks forward to Tuesday nights. He comes home happy and relaxed which has a positive effect on the whole family. S has benefited in so many ways.  The group has given him a chance to experience activities with people his own age group – developing his confidence and social skills. A huge “Thank You” to everyone!”
 
The short evaluation films made by the Children’s Group can be seen at http://www.interestlink.org.uk/videos.htm  (Titles are “2016 Berwickshire Art and Evaluation” together with “Parent Interviews” and “Bonus Animation”).
 
An Impact Report, with quantative data on how many people across Berwickshire experienced each of the outcomes in our application will follow in the New Year.
 
4. Financial report,
The grant was fully spent on the areas intended (though none was spent on salaries).  The breakdown is as follows:
Item £
1:1 Volunteer Activity Costs 356
1:1 Volunteer Travel 718
Group Activity Costs 231
Group Travel 123
Venue Hire 72
Total 1,500
 
5. Changes to staff
In August 2016 , the role of Berwickshire Co-ordinator was split as it was too large for one person.  Judy Kay stayed on to manage the Adult Service, and was joined by Kate Borthwick, a longstanding volunteer who now manages the children and young people’s work
Andrew Findlay, 06 December 2016
 
 
 

 

BREST

Year Completed: 
2014

Berwickshire Recreation Education Sports Trust is a registered charity

Scottish Charity Number SCO26564

Duns Swimming Pool is a small, community pool in Duns, a rural town in Berwickshire. It has a 25m pool, sauna and dryside facilities. It was refurbished in 2010 and has since benefited from the support of the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund.

BREST, the trust which runs the pool is a charity which operates on a shoestring budget.  Swimming pools are very expensive to run in both energy and maintenance and without the help of organisations such as Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund it would be almost impossible to maintain the high standard of the facilities in Duns.

In the last few years the fund has assisted BREST to purchase teaching equipment for First Aid at Work, Lifeguard Training and Swimming Lessons, air conditioning for the Guy Roberts room, acoustic panels for the same room, changing room cubicle curtains, changing room fan and other smaller items. In particular the air conditioning and acoustic panels have made a huge improvement to the environment in the Guy Roberts Room. This is now used by even more groups which benefits the community and
generates additional income for BREST to use in the provision of more activities.

The other items are also much appreciated as BREST has very restricted funds available for additional equipment and improvments but without which the service offered to the community would suffer.

Duns Tennis Club

Year Completed: 
2014

Duns Tennis Club

The courts were resurfaced in July 2014 and painted September 2014 at a total cost of £35,000.

This now brings them up to a first class playing standard to the benefit of all members adults and juniors alike, also for our local community to use.

Thanks again for the Blackhill contribution to this project.

Photo Gallery: 

Gavinton Village Hall

Year Completed: 
2014

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):

  • Advertising boards on the roadside,
  • Three monthly programme posters,
  • Monthly posters,
  • Leaflets into schools, Libraries, Shops, Local Businesses, Swimming Pool throughout the surrounding towns and villages,
  • Website (shared at present with Gavinton Village Hall, but soon to be a CCG dedicated one.)
  • Radio Borders,
  • Berwickshire News Entertainments section,
  • ‘What’s On’ publication,
  • BAVS newsletter.

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

Year Completed: 
2014

      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.

Cafe

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.

Connect ‘HQ’

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.

The Future

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

 

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