Successful Projects

Interest Links

Year Completed: 
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
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  (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


Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance

Year Completed: 

In 2014 the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund approved funding for £2000.00 towards the cost of providing a long term sustainable air ambulance capability in Scotland.  Since they started the SCAA have been called to Duns 3 times. 

Below is a report of there progress todate.


  • SCAA has completed 15.5 months of successful operations since launching on 22nd May 2013, where it has saved many lives and improved patients’ quality of life by moving them to hospitals rapidly.
  • Helimed 76 has been called upon 400 times and there has also been 22 road responses by the paramedics to local emergencies using the Rapid Response Vehicle.
  • Since its launch SCAA has contributed to more emergency calls being met by air ambulances, patients being reached quicker and transport times to hospital by helicopter being reduced.
  • At the start of the second year the public’s reaction to SCAA is more positive than ever.
  • The number of volunteers is ever-increasing and now stands at over 50 and is rising.
  • Individuals, groups and organisations fundraising for SCAA is also on the increase.
  • SCAA has been nominated as ‘charity of the year’ by significantly more companies than last year.
  • Aircraft tasking continues to follow seasonal norms and has shown an increase during school holidays and with more tourists in Scotland.
  • A significant partnership with Clydesdale Bank was announced at SCAA’s 1st Anniversary Event on 19th May 2014.
  • An initiative was launched with NFU Scotland – ‘Saving Time’ - to help farmers pin point their location if they need to make a 999 call and there is further interest from landowners, forestry and gamekeepers.
  • SCAA’s social media coverage is proving to be very popular and is also increasing.


  • SCAA’s Vision is to provide a long-term sustainable and scalable air ambulance capability to complement statutory resources across Scotland.  
  • SCAA’s Charitable Purpose is the emergency relief of serious sickness and injury and the protection of human life across Scotland by the provision of a sustainable air ambulance capability based in East Central Scotland, in order to save life, preserve life, increase survival rates and assist the speed of recovery in time critical medical emergencies.
  • SCAA is a Scottish Registered Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee.
  • SCAA was approved by the Scottish Government in November 2012 following a recommendation from the Scottish Ambulance Service Board and a Business Case being developed by a Joint Reference Group comprising NHS Scotland, SAS, police, trauma consultant, NHS Tayside and SCAA.
  • SCAA launched on 22nd May 2013 with a Bolkow 105 twin-engine helicopter air ambulance based at Perth Airport.
  • SCAA operates across Scotland alongside the SAS helicopters based at Glasgow and Inverness and is integrated with SAS tasking, reporting, clinical and aviation procedures
  • The aircraft, pilots, engineers, spares and back-up aircraft are provided by Bond Air Services.  The paramedics are provided by SAS and meet the same standard as their other air paramedics in Scotland.  SCAA raises charitable funds to meet all of the costs, including paramedic services, which amount to £1.5M per year.
  • Funding has been forthcoming from trusts and foundations, corporates, groups and organisations and members of the public.  There is no Government funding.




  • Two pilots and five paramedics are employed to provide a crew of a pilot and two paramedics 10 hour a day, seven days a week.
  • The crew are regularly the only medical resource available at the scene of an emergency, but often work together with ambulance crews, trauma teams, first responders, GPs and the emergency services.
  • SCAA has responded to incidents in all Scottish Health Board mainland areas.
  • The largest proportion (66%) of missions has been to provide care to trauma cases.
  • Just over half of our patients have been flown to Ninewells, Dundee.  Others have been flown to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Belford Hospital, Crosshouse Hospital Kilmarnock, Dumfries Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Forth Valley Royal, Lorne & Isles Hospital, Perth Royal Infirmary, Raigmore Hospital Inverness, Royal Alexandria Hospital, Southern General Hospital, Golden Jubilee Hospital, Western Infirmary and Borders Hospital.
  • The crew have responded to every mission within the KPI of being airborne within 5 minutes of receiving the call.




  • Lives have been saved and patients’ quality of life improved by transporting patients to hospitals rapidly by helicopter.
  • The use of a helicopter often eliminates the need for a secondary transfer from a rural hospital by road as the helicopter has the flexibility and speed to fly directly and quickly to a specialist unit.  This also avoids these cases from stretching rural hospitals beyond their capability.
  • Transport by helicopter reduces the time taken to get patients to hospital markedly over road transport in rural areas: 3 hours by road has been reduced to 25 minutes by air in some cases.
  • The integrated charity/statutory air ambulance model is a good example of the Government and the Third Sector working in partnership in Scotland to add value and capacity to existing services.  It is unique to Scotland and is innovative: it is seen by many as a model of best practice.
  • The relationship between SAS and SCAA is working well.
  • The service has been well received across all aspects of the health service which we work alongside.  There has been a similar response from the emergency services.


Allsorts Childcare Centre Ltd

Year Completed: 

Allsorts Childcare Centre Ltd would like to thank the Blackhill Windfarm Community Fund for their very generous donation of £7,500. It has helped the centre considerably allowing us to update and renew resources for the children who use the centre. It has helped the centre get back on its feet and provide fun and educational play experiences for the children. To date we have spent the money on numerous items including new TV and DVD’s, dressing up costumes, wooden musical instruments, play kitchen and baking equipment, footballs and rugby balls.  We are awaiting a secure storage shed and when we have this we will be buying new bikes and helmets.  We are still going strong hoping to continue growing as the years go on.  So from all the children, staff and parents we thank you again.



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Year Completed: 

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: 

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.

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